What to Know Before Returning to Sunday Mass
Revised June 6, 2020
Welcome back! We are so happy to be able to come together for mass again, and we pledge do our best to have and maintain a clean and safe church for everyone based on guidelines from the CDC and the archdiocese. This note is provided to help you to comfortably return to mass at St. John the Baptist, and highlights aspects of our gathering that will look and feel different. If you have further questions, you may contact the parish office or ask a greeter or usher at church.
BEFORE COMING TO MASS
Remember that the Sunday mass obligation has been suspended until after Labor Day. Therefore, everyone is called to reflect on and determine when they are ready to return to public mass. If you are not comfortable coming back yet, are a senior citizen, are sick, or have underlying health conditions, you should stay home for now. At this time, live streamed masses will continue to be taped every Sunday, alternating between St. Mary and St. John. Please check the parish website or Facebook for the schedule.
All are expected to provide their own face masks. It is also recommended to provide your own small containers of hand sanitizer (or sanitizing wet wipes) that can be kept in a pocket or purse.
Please help us by minimizing the use of the church rest room. This can be aided by consciously using the facilities just before you leave home.
Since there is a limit to how many can be accommodated at each mass, it’s recommended to try to come earlier than you usually do. We must follow distancing requirements and a limit to approximately 25% of the church’s normal capacity. Seating will be on a first come, first serve basis. Last weekend, our first weekend back, we were able to accommodate everyone who came at all of the masses, but this may change as more people return to mass.
Please have your masks on before entering church. Except for those in the altar area, all are expected to keep masks on while in church except when receiving Communion.
All must enter through the middle doors. Be aware of social distancing as you enter church and meet others. The doors will be propped open to minimize physical contact. Greeters will be present to welcome you. Hand sanitizer is available inside of the church.
The holy water fonts are now empty. However, feel free to make the sign of the cross as you enter church.
Ushers and greeters will help direct you to your seat. Those who live together can sit together as usual. Please be flexible if you are asked to sit in a location that you are not accustomed to. We will accommodate seating requests as best we can.
Once in church, try to avoid touching surfaces as much as possible, such as the ends and backs of the pews. If you cannot genuflect without support, you may bow to the tabernacle instead.
The hymnals have been removed from the church, and there will be no congregational singing at this time. A cantor will provide singing, some less familiar hymns may be used, and there may be some instrumental music. For more information on music and singing at mass, please see the article that is in the online church bulletin or website.
The offertory procession is omitted. Instead of taking the collection at the usual time, please place your offerings in the designated baskets on your way out of church.
The sign of peace is omitted after the Lord’s Prayer.
You may wish to apply hand sanitizer when preparing to receive Communion. Please follow the directions of the ushers and greeters in forming Communion lines. Maintain distancing throughout your movement to and from Communion. Notice the markings on the floor to help guide distancing. In order to help us to avoid physical contact, all are encouraged to receive Communion in the hand. Come up the Communion line with your hands in prayer positon. After “The Body of Christ”, bow and say “Amen” with your mask on. Then pull your mask up or down to receive Communion while staying in your place, and immediately replace it after receiving the Sacrament. Return to your seat respecting proper distancing. No gloves are to be worn when receiving Communion.
The precious Blood will not be offered at this time.
Notice that there will be hand sanitizing stations near each person distributing Communion. If any feel the need to do so, they may briefly stop, place the ciborium on the pedestal, and sanitize their hand before resuming the distribution of Communion. For anyone who requests a blessing instead of receiving Communion, leave your mask on, and cross your arms over your chest. The priest or EME will offer a simple blessing without making physical contact.
Please wait until ushers and greeters approach to guide your departure from your seat. There will be no physical copies of the church bulletin distributed. Bulletins are posted on the parish website. The church doors will be open for your convenience.
Place your offertory gifts in one of the baskets on your way out of church. Thank you for your continued support of the parish.
Please do not congregate in church. Wait until you are outside of the building if you wish to visit with others with proper social distancing. The priest and deacon may greet people after mass wearing masks.
In Christian charity, let us come together to continue to be witnesses to our faith in the world, even in these challenging and uncertain times. See you soon, and be safe!