A few updates on things for everyone. The first two weekends of being back at public Masses has seemed to go well. I want to thank all of you for your cooperation in making things work and your patience as we continue to work out bugs in our system. I, especially, want to thank the ushers who are doing such a marvelous job of directing people and helping them to find seats, they have been invaluable – so, a public thank you to all of them. Secondly, it has been very helpful to have so many pitch in and help sanitize their own pew after Mass, I know it’s something extra to do, but it’s what allows us to offer so many Masses on the weekend which, hopefully, ensures that everyone who would like to be present, is able to be present. We will continue to broadcast the Mass into the Atrium, there aren’t many people who are in there, but it also gives an option for people who would like to come, but don’t yet feel comfortable being with a larger group of people in the church. Finally, the grouping of the pews according to household size seems to be working. However, if you arrive and can’t find a seat according to your household size, please feel free to sit in any open pew as soon as the opening hymn has started (ushers can help you find a place), and so long as people are being cognizant of keeping an appropriate distance, that is allowed.
We mentioned at Mass this weekend that the Archdiocese continues to change its guidance on various things – it has been difficult to keep up with the changes at times. We want to make sure that everyone is kept in the loop on any changes and how they apply to St. Mary’s, but, when they change so regularly, it’s hard to get that information disseminated quickly and to prevent confusion. In light of that, we have decided to make changes on a monthly basis if they are called for, rather than implementing them right away (of course, if there is something that MUST be implemented right away, we will do so and do our best to communicate it). What we will be doing is organizing any changes to the guidelines at the end of each month and implementing them at the beginning of the next month. This will mean that some things we are allowed to do we won’t be necessarily doing right away, but we hope that it eliminates confusion and having to bombard our parishioners with information and updates. So, for instance, at the end of this month of June, we will gather up any changes and implement them at the beginning of July and convey them to everyone at that time. One of the guidelines that the Archdiocese has changed has been giving the “green light” to daily Mass, twice a week with a maximum of fifty people in attendance. We have debated doing this right away, but have decided to wait a couple of more weeks. We have generally have over one hundred people at a daily Mass and so we are in an unusual situation with so many people who normally come and the logistics of making it work on such a limited basis don’t seem to suit our parish very well. I know this is a hardship to many, but I would just ask for your patience on this for another couple of weeks – our experience over these past few months has taught us that we sometimes spend time and energy coming up with a plan only to have the guidelines change and it’s “back to the drawing board” – we really want to avoid that.
If you have noticed, the Thrift Shop is back and running! This is an incredibly valuable endeavor at St. Mary’s and provides not only a source of revenue for the parish, but also provides very nice items to people of all economic means at reasonable prices. I want to thank Terri Maciejewski for her work as manager, as well as her assistant managers and all the wonderful volunteers who poured in hours over the past few weeks removing old items, putting new ones out and making sure the Thrift Shop can operate in keeping with health guidelines.
Finally, we want to welcome Fr. Justin Weber officially as a second Associate Pastor for St. Mary’s for the next three months – he celebrated one Mass last weekend and has another one this weekend and is moving in to the Rectory this week. We are grateful to have him here!
Once again, thank you for all your patience with everything – none of us would have envisioned a situation like that which has unfolded, and so we are trying our best to get things right. Please know that you are in my daily prayers and it has been wonderful to see so many of you (even at a distance) at Mass!