Letter from Father Tom
I have been waiting a long time to write these words. St. Patrick Parnell will be opening for public Masses starting Friday, May 29th. O what a joy to once again be joined in such glorious praise of our God and to partake in the great thanksgiving of the Eucharist. “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete” (John 15:11). Jesus was telling the disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love” (John 15:9). Remain in God’s love.
Please let us all remain in God’s love as we come together again as a parish community. This will be a very challenging transition because of certain safeguards that we will have to obey. We will have many bumps along the way. The re-opening might not go perfectly. We will all have to exhibit a great love of our neighbor as we patiently enter into the rhythm of Mass with limited seating, with masks, with social distancing…
Some things to consider as we begin public celebration of the Mass:
Do not come to Mass if you are sick, or if you are in the high-risk demographic because of age (over 60) or other health concerns.
Your obligation to attend Mass on the weekend has been dispensed by the bishop until the end of June.
Your favorite spot to sit may be roped off. We are only allowed a certain amount of people in the church at one time and we must honor the social distancing regulations.
To help compensate for the smaller numbers allowed at each Mass, I have adjusted the Mass schedule.
Please consider attending a weekday Mass to leave room for those families who can only attend on the weekend.
Please bring your own mask to wear.
You may sign up to attend a particular Mass by contacting Darci by phone (616-691-8541), or by emailing her (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a sign-up link.
We will eventually hit our stride. For now, let us simply rejoice in the chance to come back to our beautiful church and participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Our staff will be working hard for you to ensure that we are doing all in our ability to make this transition a true joy.
Fr. Tom Cavera
Parishioner Guidelines for Returning to Public Mass
From the Diocese of Grand Rapids
ATTENDANCE WILL BE LIMITED
Churches will reopen at a 25% seating capacity. With fewer people at each Mass, it may not be possible for you to attend with regularity for the first few weeks, or even to attend on Sunday.
SOCIAL DISTANCING WILL BE PRACTICED
Pews will be taped off to achieve proper social distancing. Individuals who are not members of the same household will need to sit at least 6 feet away in all directions from others.
MASKS/FACE COVERINGS WILL BE REQUIRED
All members of the faithful who are two years of age and older will need to bring and wear their own appropriate face covering to attend Mass. Parents, we know this may be hard with young children, please just try your best. Holy Communion may not be received in the hand if you are wearing gloves.
MASS WILL LOOK DIFFERENT
Among a few of the changes: physical greetings will be omitted; the temporary suspension of the distribution of the Precious Blood remains in effect; collection baskets will not be passed, you are encouraged to give online or in a common basket upon your arrival or departure from Mass.
EXTRA SANITIZATION WILL BE IN PLACE
Ushers or a group of volunteers will be wiping down frequently touched surfaces between Masses. Parishioners are encouraged to bring their own hand sanitizer.
Thank you for your patience during this time and for supporting your parish!