Thursday, May 14, 2020
New Procedures Coming Up
I am very grateful to Dr. Marsha Long for wanting to collaborate for Our Lady of Fatima, which we had live on YouTube and you can access on our YT channel now. I’m also grateful for our musicians who have planned and sang for us week after week now, pretty soon after public Masses were suspended.
Last Week I mentioned that perhaps I could relay some information to you from Bishop McElroy in this communication, but so far I have not received any new communication from him yet as far as a timeline. All I know is that the scheduled meeting he had with his council last Friday did take place, and he and Bishop Dolan are meeting with all of us pastors this week on various days. We have received so far general guidelines for when we do have public Mass in the future.
So far it sounds like these general guidelines are what we have gotten used to with facemasks and social distancing, but each parish will have to make local decisions for the implementation.
Gorge Vian, our sacristan, and I measured and calculated how many people we could have in the church if everyone is 6 feet apart, and we calculated 65 people. This calculation assumes that every person will need to be 6 feet away from everyone else. I know that couples and families living together do not need to be separated, and that it would increase the capacity of people in the church if a family or people in the same household sit together.
I also read that having live music will be discouraged (there has been some evidence of droplets being aerosolized during choirs singing at other churches). Also, holy water fonts will remain empty, and pews will need to be sanitized, and the restrooms as well, possibly every two hours.
These procedural necessities raise a number of questions: How will we coordinate where people sit? Do we assign pews on a first come first served basis? What will we do if someone does not bring a facemask? Do we turn that person away? What do we do if someone starts coughing during Mass and the person does not leave? Do we stop the liturgy and ask the person to leave? Will we have the technical capability of having pre-recorded music? Who will wipe the pews after each Mass? If we have outdoor Mass(es), who will put out the chairs, collect them, and sanitize them?
I have heard that a number of you miss very much the Eucharist, so I ask you to please help us with the sanitation efforts after each Mass, because having Mass will be contingent on us having the capacity to comply with the norms. These norms are for everyone’s safety.
Even before the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, our 5:30 PM Masses on Saturday and Sunday, sometimes would be this low in attendance, so I would encourage those of you who usually attended the 7:30 AM and 9:30 AM Masses, to please rotate through our Mass schedule. This way, our Masses can share more equally the volumes of people. Masses that had higher attendance can shift some people to the Masses that had fewer people attending. The ones less crowded had been the evening Masses.
Someone shared with me that in another parish their plan is using an online reservation system, much like the ones movie theaters use, when you could reserve a seat ahead of time. In this system, a household would be able to reserve a pew ahead of time. Given the number of Masses we have, I imagine that managing such a system would consume a lot of my time, in organizing the various lists of reservations, but if one of you is willing to help out in organizing such a system for one or more Masses, please let me know. Perhaps a first come first served basis would be easier.
I also want to thank those of you who have donated your stimulus checks funds to the needs of the parish. I mentioned to someone that our ACA assessment can be paid by going to the Diocesan website and selecting our parish - Saint Patrick in San Diego, since there are two other Saint Patrick parishes in the Diocese. Thank you for your ongoing support! When we do have Public Mass again, we don’t know when our collection will resume to pre-covid19 levels and yet, our budgeted expenses continue, and new ones surface such as the termite problem we have.
I mentioned that three companies came to do an inspection, and I am moving closer to making a decision. Thank you to a couple of people who have donated or pledged to donate in the future toward this cause. Since we are now planning to resume public Masses, I would like to have this treatment done soon, so that it won’t disrupt our weekend liturgies. Even though I have been told that the procedure only lasts three days, my experience has been that delays happen often, and so there is a significant risk for the tenting and fumigations to cause disruptions if we wait until resuming public Masses.
Also, thank you to those of you who have donated food, cash, or gift-cards for the St Patrick Food Pantry for parishioners in need. We are conducting the operation of shopping and organizing the food baskets every two weeks thanks to the leadership of Br. Arturo Renteria, OSA. About 20 families have been served the past two times we have done it.
God bless, Fr. Carlos, OSA