Process for Reopening Our Churches
As many of you may have seen or heard, we are ready to begin the process of opening our churches once again here in the great State of Connecticut. This is indeed very good and welcomed news, and I can assure you that Fr. Steve and I are looking forward to seeing you again...it has been as difficult for us as it has been for you. As we begin this reopening I would like to remind you that Governor Lamont has referred to this entire process as a "Phased Reopening" and as such it is indeed a process. Nothing is written in stone and this is a process that may have to be tweaked and adjusted as we move forward. We are all in this together and we are making it up as we go given the guidance that we receive from the State and the Diocese. Here are some things to be aware of:
-Starting June 8 Weekday Masses will resume. Weekend Masses are still on hold for the time being throughout the Diocese.
-Because of the sizes of the churches within our parish and the need to practice Social Distancing, for now Masses will only be held in St. Joseph and St. Mary Churches. The other churches will be reopened as restrictions on gatherings are eased.
-The temporary schedule will be:
-8:00 Mass at St. Joseph on Monday-Thursday
-9:00 Mass at St. Mary on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
-Please note that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will remain dispensed for all the faithful in the Diocese of Norwich until further notice. Also, those who are considered 'high risk' because of age or underlying health conditions are encouraged not to attend Mass.
-Due to the fact that the worldwide pandemic is still a reality, social distancing will remain in effect. You are asked to keep at least 6 feet of distance between people and masks which cover your nose and mouth MUST be worn in church (this is a State mandate). You are also encouraged to bring hand sanitizer with you to Mass.
-Until further notice there will be no Liturgical Ministers at Mass (Lectors, EMs, Altar Servers, Choirs).
-Since there will be no Offertory Collection taken by passing a basket, baskets will be placed in front of the Altar for donations and envelopes (thank you for your financial support!).
-The reception of Holy Communion will take place differently in an effort to allow for a staggered dismissal from church.
-Communion will be distributed at the end of Mass.
-You are asked to please receive Communion in the hand.
-At the conclusion of Mass and once the priest has washed his hand, please process to the Altar to receive Communion maintaining the six feet of distance. Also, please continue to wear your mask until just before you receive Communion.
In addition to the opening of church for Mass we are also able to resume the Celebration of the Sacrament of Confession. In the interest of health for people and the priests, we will not be using the confessionals for the time being. Confessions will be offered on the front porches of the rectories at both St. Joseph and Most Holy Trinity. Confessions will begin on Saturday, June 13 from 3:00-4:00 at both locations.
Thank you very much for your patience and understanding during these unusual and uncertain times. We will indeed get through this together. May God bless you and keep you safe!