After Governor Parson’s recent lessening of Coronavirus directives in the State of Missouri, Bishop Rice has allowed parishes in Southern Missouri to resume having Holy Communion at the normal time during Mass. Both Cape parishes, the Cathedral of St. Mary and our parish, started the normal time for Holy Communion several weeks ago. All the other directives remain in place. This includes:
Attendance will be limited. Remember that the Church building is
marked for “social distancing”. Using the guidelines from the Cape County Health Department, the Church space is limited to 30% of the normal seating capacity. This means that our Church space will seat approximately 150-200 people. When a Mass is filled with its capacity, people will be encouraged to go to the upper meeting room where Mass is televised, and an Eucharistic Minister will bring Holy Communion. Please note that the upper meeting room is reserved ONLY for those who wear face masks during the 5:00 p.m. Saturday and 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning Masses!
Social Distancing will be practiced. Families will be asked to keep six
feet of separation from other families. If you are showing any symptoms of sickness, please stay home. During this time, remember, there are to be NO hugs or handshakes!
A general dispensation from the Sunday obligation remains. If
you or your family feel more comfortable to stay at home because of the Coronavirus threat, make plans to continue to keep the Sabbath holy by participating in livestream and pre-recorded Masses. Our parish Mass is recorded on Saturday at the 5:00 p,m, Mass and posted immediately to our YouTube and Parish website.
You are highly encouraged to wear a face mask. There still will be a
risk for anyone who attends a public Mass. Even with best health practices and strictest social distancing, anyone who enters a public space should recognize there is a risk of contracting the Coronavirus. Cleaning will continue but no one should expect that they will be any safer from germs than other public spaces. To prevent risks, the Church will be supplied with plenty of hand sanitizer in various locations. Also, remember that theChurch space is sanitized each day after each Mass. For anyone wanting to wear a face mask and be around others wearing a face mask, the upper meeting room is reserved ONLY for those who wear face masks during the 5:00 p.m. Saturday and 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning Masses!
Finally, let’s strive for progress and not perfection. There will no
doubt be challenges and frustrations. Things may not go according to plan. But we believe following these guidelines is a reasonable sacrifice. If we all work together, we can ease back into our celebration of the Holy Eucharist and continue to incrementally return to normal. However, if we look for ways to get around the regulations, we will likely create situations that force us to take steps backward. In the long run, please remember that these guidelines have been created for everyone’s safety! Finally, let us continue to pray for all those who have lost loved ones to the Coronavirus, for those struggling with the disease now, and all those living in fear of the unknown ... may God be with all of us!
Father Rick L. Jones
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church