May 27, 2020
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
A brief email to share with you on what we can and cannot offer at Church at the current time based on the guidelines of the Diocese and the Governor.
In-door Masses are permitted for Funerals and Weddings with a maximum of 10 people including the priest. Baptism celebrations must follow the same rule – maximum of 10 people including the priest or the deacon. Sunday and/or weekday celebrations of Mass are not permitted at this time.
The Diocese is preparing guidelines for “drive in” Masses. While we have a fairly large parking lot, and a good number of parishioners have suggested the possibility of a drive in Mass, several problems need to be addressed:
– A platform that would allow everyone in their cars to see the altar. A preliminary investigation reveals that platforms can be rented with a daily/monthly fee depending on the size of the platform. A canopy over the altar.
– Sound and amplification for the prayers and readings; outdoor speakers cannot work because of the proximity of the residents in the adjoining complex.
– With the warmer weather and higher temperatures in June, the temperatures in the cars could become uncomfortable but we cannot have the cars running to provide air conditioning for its occupants because of the proximity of the neighbors.
– As of this writing, Holy Communion cannot be distributed.
– Outdoor/field Masses at which parishioners would bring their own chairs and practice safe distancing are not permitted at this time.
Until some of these difficulties can be worked out, I don’t know if a drive in Mass is the best solution at this time.
Even though it’s short notice, I am happy to offer once again a drive by blessing this coming Sunday, May 31 from 11 am to Noon. Then, beginning on Sunday, June 7, I will celebrate Sunday Mass which will be available on YouTube, and I will continue to offer that each Sunday until such time as we are permitted to have Mass in the Church. Unfortunately we cannot live stream the Mass from HNJ Church.
Pope Francis will lead the major shrines around the world in praying the rosary to implore Mary’s intercession and protection amid the coronavirus pandemic. The pope will pray at the replica of the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens May 30, the eve of Pentecost, and will also be joined by several “men and women representing various categories of people particularly affected by the virus,” the Vatican said May 26. The service will be at 5:30 p.m. in Rome (11:30 a.m. EDT). “At the feet of Mary, the Holy Father will place the many troubles and sorrows of humanity, further worsened by the spread of COVID-19,” said a statement released by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. According to the statement, the prayer, which coincides with the end of the Marian month of May, “is another sign of closeness and consolation for those who, in different ways, have been struck by the coronavirus, in the certainty that the Heavenly Mother will not disregard the requests for protection.”
I long to be in the Church with you and to celebrate Mass together as much as you do, but there is not much else we can do at this time except to pray and hope that the Church(es) will be open for Mass in the near future.
With my thanks and gratitude for your continued generous donations to the Church and the thoughtful notes which accompany some of the envelopes and a prayer and blessing for your good health,