Message to the Parishioners, May 15, 2020
I’m sure that most of you have heard by now Bishop Mark‘s announcement of the opening of the churches for private personal prayer. I know this Announcement is what everyone has been waiting for and we will open St. Clement Saturday, May 16, 2020 from 9:00am to 1:00pm for personal private prayer. At this time our church will be opened everyday from 9:00am to 1:00pm. This is the 1st step, individual, private prayer.
Following this there will be steps for the opportunity for Confessions, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then daily mass and then a Sunday mass.
Before all of that… I want to remind you that the opening of the church for private prayer is for those who are strong, in good health and not affected by other medical problems. Please remember you are not obligated to actively participate in Mass. There are various Vulnerable Categories or Reasons for not going into the church at this time. There are physical or medical reasons and also Just as important is a person’s Fear and a Sense of Insecurity in a person’s Mind and Heart. Not everyone can or should visit the church at this time.
What I would like to share with you is some of the procedures that we have to put in the place so that when the church opens everyone will be safe.
The first step, as the churches will be opened for private personal prayer. The Bishop has stressed that cleaning and disinfecting are Paramount. We were told that after every individual person leaves the church his or her place of seating has to be disinfected and cleansed. As well as anything the person has touched entering the church, while in the church or leaving the church.
The Maximum number of people in the church at any one time depends upon the stage of reopening allowed by the Commonwealth. So once we have moved to the yellow-level restrictions, the number of those permitted in church is determined by physical distancing. This means that individuals are at least 6 feet from others in all directions. This number will be clearly posted on the church doors. Of course this means that non-household (family) members need to be at least 6 feet away from others in all directions.
In order to minimize how much of the church needs to be cleaned and disinfected regularly, pastors may restrict public access to parts of the church and gathering space. So we have roped off certain pews and areas. So please use only the areas that are open.
Please enter and leave the church using the side parking lot door and sit only in the designated pews. All who come into the church need to wear a cloth mask at all times.
All hymnals, prayer books and all other literature are to be removed from the church area which is open for private prayer. Anything you 9-bring with you, please take with you when you leave.
I would like to have volunteers (1 or 2) to be at the door to welcome and help disinfect after the person leaves the church.
Please call the rectory in you can help with this ‘New Ministry’.
Also I am in the process of forming a committee of Parishioners to advise me how to best follow these guidelines so that our church will remain as safe as possible today and as we will eventually move into the other steps.
If you would like to be on this committee or perhaps not on the committee but to come in at various times to welcome and or help with the disinfecting and cleansing of the church please give me a call at the Rectory.
For those who are able to make a prayerful visit to the church we use this time as we savor Jesus in the Eucharist. That’s great.
We remember that the Lord is also present in other ways.
And for our parishioners who are welcome to remain at home until they are comfortable to congregate again with us and resuming normal day-to-day activities in the community. In fact all of us need to Remember God is present in His Word, as we read the Scriptures. We need to Remember Our Lord is present when 2 or 3 gather in his name as we pray together as a family. We need to Remember God is present in every believer by way of our baptism….how do we see Him in others.
Finally, we will continue to celebrate every Sunday at 3 o’clock on channel 9 on Atlantic Broadband Cable TV and on our website and Facebook. In fact we hope to buy a new camera so we will be able to videotape and or livestream our Masses once we move to the church. And continue to make our mass available for those who can’t make it to Sunday Mass.
Try to do you best with the ‘new normal’ which is keep praying and stay safe.
Thanks for prayers and support.