Dear St. Aloysius Parish,
As Phase II of the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” progresses, changes continue to come to us. Bishop Daly has given the go ahead for confessions and Masses to resume. The bishop, following the lead of the governor, has allowed for churches to have services with 25% of church capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower. Clearly for us at St. Als, the latter is true. We at St. Aloysius welcome this news and are working to make this happen. In our planning, we continue to keep the health and safety of you, our parishioners, in the forefront of what we do.
Confessions resume Thursday May 28 at the usual time, 4:30pm to 6:30pm. We are holding them outside at the Mary grotto immediately east of the church. Confessors and penitents are required to wear masks and keep six-foot distances. There will be a screen between them. We will hold confessions at this site on Thursdays 4:30-6:30pm until further notice.
Sunday Masses will resume May 30. The Saturday 5pm Vigil Mass will continue to be live streamed only. I know some of you prefer it, but we want to keep one Mass designed for all those who cannot or choose not to come to public Masses yet. By live streaming only and closing it to the public, we can have full music, which is so important to the beauty of our liturgies. Masks and six-foot distances are required at all Sunday and weekday Masses. As was true in March, we will not have a physical exchange of peace, we will not hold hands across the church during the Our Father, and there will not be any Holy Water in the fonts. Sunday Masses will be as short as possible to minimize exposure. Please check the website for more information.
Communion will be offered under one species only and in the hand only. Eucharistic ministers and those coming forward at communion must all wear masks. To receive communion, extend your hand as open and flat as possible to receive the host, step to the side, pull down your mask enough to consume the host, then replace your mask and walk back to your seat.
As per Bishop’s statement, there will not be congregational singing at the public Masses. Ushers will dismiss the congregation by rows starting in the rear of the church at the end of Mass. There will not be access to the bathrooms and O’Malley hall.
Signing up for Mass is required. Following the instructions of Bishop, we will keep a 30-day record of mass attendees to notify you if someone tests positive for COVID. Please see the parish website for instructions on how to sign up for Mass.
Weekday Masses will not resume yet. Daily Masses will continue to be live streamed and the church will remain closed during the day. When daily Masses resume the church will also be open from 7:30am to 9:30am Monday through Friday.
These are challenging times and it seems when something changes regarding COVID 19 safety protocols the situation is very fluid. Things can move slow and then seemingly all at once move very fast, which requires adaptability on our part. I think it shows us our need for the Holy Spirit to keep us grounded in the midst of a changing environment. We can take our cues from the apostles who, after the crucifixion, were hiding out in the upper room not sure of what to do. Even after the resurrection, Jesus met them there with a greeting of “Peace be with you.” At Pentecost, the Apostles are again together; the Spirit comes to them and it strengthens their hearts. They go out into the world and are Jesus’ witnesses as Luke tells us Jesus said to them at the Ascension (Acts 1). Peter and John encounter a crippled beggar at the Temple in Jerusalem. Unable to give him silver or gold, they instead give him what they have, Jesus. The crippled beggar walks (Acts 3). May you be strengthened by the Holy Spirit this Pentecost.
Tom Lamanna, S.J.