On Monday, May 18, 2020, Massachusetts announced places of worship may welcome back parishioners for public Mass as long as certain safety protocols established by the State as well as by the Archdiocese of Boston were followed. The projected opening date was set as Monday, May 25, 2020 for weekday Masses, and Sunday, May 31, 2020 for weekend Masses.
We understand you have a tremendous desire and longing to come back to the parish, but at the same time we have the responsibility to exercise a tremendous amount of caution. We have to be flexible and put the priority of everyone’s health in its place, especially that of the elderly and most vulnerable. Catholics are not obligated to attend Mass for the time being because of the dangers that the COVID-19 virus still poses. We encourage elderly Catholics and those at high-risk, such as patients with certain health conditions, to stay home and watch the Mass on Catholic television or the local cable station from the safety of your home. We will continue to present our weekend Masses on cable television, as well as our website.
The protocols established by the Archdiocese of Boston and the State stipulate that before a worship site may reopen for public celebrations the following check list must be met:
- Church deep cleaned, according to the methods outlined in the Archdiocese Risk Management guidelines.
- Hymnals and missalettes removed.
- Establish an online registration system for Mass attendance. Capacity will be greatly reduced in order to meet social distancing requirements. All parishioners will be required to register for Mass online (if you do not have access to online registration, you may call the parish office to obtain a Mass reservation). Reservations will be based on space availability.
- Properly train volunteers to assist with ushering parishioners to their assigned seats.
- Properly train volunteers to assist with traffic flow.
- Procure and post signage informing parishioners of mask wearing requirements, social distancing requirements, traffic flow directions, one-way entrances and aisles, one-way exits and aisles, no congregating.
- Signage informing parishioners of no congregational singing.
- Marking out socially distant seating.
- Mark floor indicating were a parishioner will stand to receive, and consume communion.
- Procure sanitation products including cleaning products, gloves, and hand sanitizer.
- Train volunteers to properly clean the church, stairwells, elevator buttons, and restroom before and after each Mass efficiently and effectively.
In order to provide a safe environment for your protection, we need obtain the necessary supplies and signage, as well properly train volunteers. Therefore, I have decided that we will begin the public celebration of Mass on Saturday, June 13, 2020 at 4:00 pm, the Vigil of the Feast of Corpus Christi. We will begin to celebrate weekday Masses and funerals beginning on Monday, June 15, 2020.
I have heard the argument of “faith over fear”, however I believe God gives us the Wisdom to protect and care for one another. In order to “practice what we preach”, it will be in the quiet care and implementation of the above protocols, with proper preparation, cleaning and volunteer training, rather than reckless faith driven bravado that protecting one another will take place.
Fr. Mario & Fr. Frank