June 9, 2020
Dear parishioners and friends in the Lord,
There are three things I would like to accomplish in this letter: a reminder of the directives from the Diocese of Grand Rapids regarding the first phase of resuming public Mass, answering phone calls and inquiries about reservations for Masses this weekend, and the schedule for weekday Masses and other public devotions.
Some of you recall a press release from the diocese: “beginning Friday, May 29, parishes in the Grand Rapids Diocese may resume public Masses and liturgies if they are prepared.” Please note that resuming public Masses can only happen when the parish is prepared. Being able to follow the directives is a test of our preparedness. One directive that causes much difficulty: “Masks/Face coverings are required for those attending Mass.” All members of the faithful who are two years of age and older will need to bring and wear their own appropriate face covering as they walk through the doors of the Church. (There is a box of masks at the entrance of the door for those who do not have one). As your pastor, unless you have a medical condition, I would like to remind you that THIS MUST BE FOLLOWED. Since it is a directive from our Bishop please take it to heart. That means masks/face coverings are to be worn as you walk in the church door and left on the entire Mass (except when receiving Holy Communion). Again to the parents, we know this may be hard with young children. All we ask is that you do your best.
Regarding reservations for Mass this weekend (June 13-14, 2020), in the last two weekends we asked people to complete a survey so that our parishioners will get first priority when having open seats. Unfortunately, many who completed the survey did not show up for Mass and left the ushers and staff facing a difficult decision whether to allow visitors to come in or not. So this week we will go with the first come first serve model. When we reach the 25% capacity, attendants will be asked to go to the next Mass. Please note: we have 13 first Communions this Sunday at the 5PM Mass. The 5PM Mass this week will ONLY be able to accommodate the first Communicants and their families. For those of you who are just “roaming”, it’s times like these where we would like you to reflect upon the meaning of being an “active and registered parishioner” of a parish. To be a registered and active member is to be part of a family in faith: you have responsibilities to the family, and the family has responsibilities to you. In short, you are called by Jesus to live out your discipleship concretely in a local parish. It has been said the relationships grow and deepen during challenging times. Perhaps the Lord is calling all those who do not have a parish community to call home to deepen their relationship with the local community of faith and take a step forward: “Do not be afraid, open wide the door for Christ”—St. John Paul II.
Starting the week of June 15, 2020 weekday Masses will be at 12Noon on Tuesday-Thursday. During this first phase of resuming public Mass, we were told that Eucharistic Adoration will be for one hour. Therefore, besides the Holy Hour of Divine Mercy on Sunday at 3:00PM, we will have Eucharistic Adoration on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday nights from 10-11PM. More adjustments will be made in this area when the restrictions are lifted.
Friends, these restrictions and following the directives are not easy. I am just happy that we can come together again to worship the Lord. Let us move forward with humility and charity toward one another. This is the month of the Sacred Heart and a time to pray for the sanctity of priests. Please keep me in your prayers as I remember all of you in mind, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,