71 Central St. Stoneham, MA 02180

Browsing Pastor's Notes

COVID19, Advent, and Christmas

Important - please read

Dear Church,

With so many concerns about public health and the rapid increase of COVID19 cases in our own community as we approach the holidays, Saint Patrick Parish is doing everything it can to keep its parishioners as safe as possible. However, we need your help and patience to abide by the COVID19 restrictions so that we don’t have to shut down. We will be implementing some further restrictions in our liturgy as well as how we enter and exit the Parish. All of these will be posted not only on the outside parish doors but also in our bulletin and online as well. We are doing this out of an abundance of caution for everyone’s safety and welfare. As we approach the holidays many people who do not normally come to Church, and therefore are not familiar with the COVID19 protocols, may try coming for the holidays. Thus, the need to enforce new protocols. Trust me Church this does not make life at Saint Patrick Parish any easier spiritually or financially, but I have to protect the “flock.”

While Catholics have a serious obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, please note that the obligation to attend Mass remains lifted until further notice. If you are over the age of 65, or you are part of a vulnerable population, or have an underlying health condition I urge you to stay home. If anyone is showing any signs of illness, prudence dictates that you stay at home. If your doctor advises you to stay away from crowds due to your health condition, then that seems like a good reason not to come.

For those who still choose to attend, beginning the weekend of December 5/6, reservations will be required for all weekend Masses. We can no longer allow walk-ins. The Parish doors will be locked 10 minutes after Mass begins. Face masks covering both the nose and mouth are absolutely required to attend Mass. We cannot make any medical exceptions at this time. Holy Communion is received In-Hand only. Although some may feel strongly about receiving on the tongue, in order to limit exposure to this deadly disease for everyone, this option will not be allowed. As you enter the church, use the center main doors only. Do not attempt to enter through the side doors and walk down the side aisles. As you enter the pews from the center aisle please make every attempt to walk to the end of the pew (along the side aisle) to be seated, unless otherwise directed by an usher. Dismissal from the Church will begin with BOTH center tribunals first, beginning with the last rows first then moving towards the altar. Once the center tribunals have exited then the angled tribunals will exit in the same manner beginning with the last row etc. As we exit we will be using the side aisles only, one row at a time, and utilizing both stairwells. Parishioners seated on the right side of the Church will exit along the right-side aisle and down the corresponding stairwell and those exiting on the left side of the Church will exit along the left side aisle and utilize the stairwell on their side only. This will allow for a safe and expedient exit for all.

Please note that we will broadcast our Christmas Mass on local cable as well as on our website on Christmas Eve at 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm as well as on Christmas day at 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm.

Church, how strange this illness is! How unexpected it has come, disrupting some of our favorite things, favorite times of the year, and being able to receive the Eucharist, causing both fear and inconvenience. This too shall pass. I trust in the providential care of the Lord … for Jesus has said, “I am with you always until the end of the world.” (Mt 28:20)