UPDATE ON THE RESUMPTION OF PUBLIC MASSES; INCLUDING DAILY MORNING MASSES; 06/20/2020
We are resolved at making our return to Church, safe and reassuring. The Lord has done great things for our two Communities and Parishes in this pandemic. We will not afford to lose the gains we have made.
There is need therefore; for us to obey the guidelines for attending Mass in our Churches.
They following have been put in place for the Safety and Security of Parishioners as they move in and out of our Churches:
1) The official maximum occupancy (sitting capacity) of St. Joseph’s Church is 489 people.
2) The Covid-19 maximum occupancy (sitting capacity) of St. Joseph’s Church is 153 people. This number at one Mass is rare; probably during Christmas and Easter.
3) I am still searching St. Mary’s files for this document/code.
4) The seats in the churches have been tapped out at 6 feet apart.
5) The rows on either side of the Isle are staggered at even and odd numbers; so people are unable to sit directly opposite and across the Aisle.
6) At Mass; collections are done with the long-handled baskets. They could also be mailed in, or dropped in the Rectory Office Dropbox.
7) Hand sanitizers with more than 60% alcohol are placed at Church entrances and at strategic places in the Churches.
8) The church pews, the door knobs, the hand rails, the microphones, and all touchable surfaces are sanitized immediately after every Mass.
9) Parishioners above the age of two are required to wear their masks, observe the distancing stipulated, and adhere to instructions from the pastor or his delegate, in the Church.
10) Parishioners are encouraged to carry their own pocket hand sanitizers, in addition to the ones provided in the Churches.
11) The books/missals have all been removed from the pews, as part of the guidelines. So people are unable to transfer touches.
12) There will be music by the Organist. The people of God are not obliged to sing; but they will respond to their parts of the Mass.
13) The priest uses a separate microphone.
14) He is 20 to 25 feet away from the people of God. He also may not be able to celebrate Mass with his mask on. So; he wears his mask only during the distribution of Holy Communion.
15) He sanitizes his hands as often as he deems necessary.
16) The hosts for the people of God are covered in a ciborium; while the large host used for consecration is consumed by the priest during communion.
17) The people of God stay 6 feet apart in line for Holy Communion.
18) The priest does not stand at the door for greetings after Mass, to avoid gathering and cloistering. In the same way; both before and after Mass; parishioners should not get together for chat. After Mass; we are required to leave the Church for our cars, respecting social distancing. Remember; no one is being penalized. We are sticking to these requirements for the good and safety of all of us.
19) With all of the above practices already in play; I bet; we are ready to go! So please; feel safe, assured, and happy to join your Church family once again.
I can’t wait to see your faces again; after this marathon of a lockdown.
Again; if someone still feels uncomfortable joining now; he or she should feel free to stay home and watch our streamed Mass.
Thank you everyone!
PARISHES MAY BEGIN REOPENING AT 25% PROVIDED STATE AND DIOCESAN GUIDELINES ARE MET
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2020
Diocese of Buffalo Welcomes Allowance for Parish Reopening
Parishes that are prepared to welcome up to 25% of capacity, following Diocesan established protocols may do so as soon as possible
(Buffalo, NY) - In light of Governor Cuomo’s announcement today that houses of worship may resume public gatherings at 25 percent capacity at the earliest opportunity, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has announced that any parish in the Diocese of Buffalo that is prepared to offer public liturgies while maintaining the safety protocols detailed in the Diocesan guidelines due to the ongoing COVID-19 threat may do so.
Local Catholics are urged to check with their parishes before planning to attend a Mass, as parishes may be at a different stage in their preparations for reopening. The decision to reopen is solely at the discretion of the pastor. In addition, because many priests serving in parishes throughout the Diocese are themselves vulnerable, those priests may choose to (and are encouraged to) opt out of presiding if they have concerns about their personal health and safety. In those cases, a local parish may join with another local parish for public liturgies.
The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in place. All who are especially vulnerable or simply uncomfortable attending a public liturgy are encouraged to remain at home and view Mass via livestreams, which will continue in local parishes. (For livestream information, visit LIVE STREAM MASSES
“On this weekend, as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity and look forward to next weekend’s celebration of Corpus Christi, we are ever more aware of and grateful for the great gift of the Eucharist,” said Bishop Scharfenberger who has kept churches open throughout the pandemic so local Catholics could pray privately. “The Catholic faithful of our Diocese have made clear their eagerness to return to their parish churches and to resume their sacramental, life with their parish leaders and in communion with their fellow parishioners. While we welcome this latest development, it is imperative that our parish leaders and all who are returning to public Masses observe the guidelines that public health officials have issued, along with the extensive measures that we have defined for our parishes in order to protect the health and safety of parishioners, as well as priests and liturgical ministers.”
Parishes throughout the Diocese have been working on plans to ensure they can meet safety standards that will keep the six-foot social distancing requirement in place throughout Mass.
In addition, many other protocols must be met in order for parishes to open, as defined by the guidelines referenced above.
Parishioners should bring and be prepared to wear their own masks and, if possible, a bottle of hand sanitizer for use upon entering, before receiving Communion, after receiving Communion, and after exiting the church. Catholics should plan on restricted seating, a change in the reception of Communion in order to ensure social distancing, and other appropriate measures upon entering and exiting churches.