Wednesday, June 10, 2020
What a better day to celebrate public Mass for the first time since lockdown, than on this Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus! I have heard from several of you how much you longed and missed to receive Christ in the Eucharist, and today we remember in a special way that He is truly and really present in the Eucharist so that we can abide in Him by receiving Him sacramentally.
Given that the pandemic is ongoing with all of its risks for public health, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in place indefinitely. You could consider switching your Sunday Mass to one of our weekdays, so that in this way you can help us stay under the allowed 25% capacity on Sundays. Weekday Masses are celebrated Monday through Saturday at 8:00 AM.
Whether you decide to come on a week-day or on Sunday, please come only if you are not experiencing fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath, or body aches. The 9:30 AM Mass will continue to be livestreamed on our YouTube channel, so please tune in to bit.ly/stpatyoutube to join us from home. We will monitor on a weekly basis, and depending on the use of overflow space, more Masses may be livestreamed in the future.
When you come on Sunday or on a weekday, please wear a face mask, and maintain social distancing. Some Pews will be marked off. Please observe these guidelines:
1. Please enter only through the main doors on 30th street, and exit through the side doors. In case of an emergency, if you need to exit during the middle of Mass, please use the door closest to you, in order to pass by the fewest number of people.
2. Once the ushers count to 75 people, you will be directed to overflow space in the hall, by going around the church on Dwight Street and entering through the sidewalk doors of the hall.
3. There are spacing requirements for seating:
A. Please approach the furthest available pew toward the altar in the church, or the projection screen in the hall.
B. People who do not belong to the same household must be seated at least six feet apart.
C. People from the same household may sit closer together.
D. If your household is at least three people coming together, you will have the whole pew.
E. If you are coming as a couple, please sit at one end of the pew. Another couple or a single individual may sit on the other end of the same pew.
F. If you are coming as a single individual, please sit in the middle of the pew if it is empty. If there is a pew with a single individual sitting already in the center, two additional single individuals can sit in the ends of the pew.
4. Before exiting, please wait for the priest to call your pew for communion / blessing at the end of Mass, and exit through one of the side doors. If you are in the Hall, a concelebrating priest or lay Eucharistic Minister will distribute communion by the doors leading to the parking lot. Please wait patiently for your turn to exit.
We can be socially distant but spiritually close. In fact, we have been! Let us continue to reach out to our fellow parishioners through phone calls and emails, and of course, praying for each other. We can protect one another by keeping our social distance, but also extending to one another our friendship, love, compassion, support, and mercy.
These past two months have revealed our dependence on God in a deeper way. During the Covid-19 crisis, we have become even more aware of our reliance on God. So many things are out of our control in this broken world, but maybe we have become more grateful for health and family, and other blessings. I have heard about positive changes in some families wanting to spend better quality time together, for example.
On behalf of the parish, I am deeply grateful for all of you who have supported us financially during these trying times. Although the total amount of collected funds dropped when we had no public Mass, those of you who continued to support us often made larger contributions. Thanks to you and the government loan, we were able to keep our staff working full time.
We also had to spend more than we planned on maintenance: we tented and fumigated the church, we fixed a gas leak in the property, and we are continuing to repair areas of the roof that were found in disrepair when the roof was inspected prior to the church buildings being tented. We will have monthly special collections to pay off these repair expenses.
Lastly, I do not want to remain silent about the protests spurred by the cruel way in which George Floyd’s life was ended. I condemn the violence and looting that occurred initially, and I still wonder if the looters were criminals who took advantage of the situation. Yet the conversations around race going on, although perhaps uncomfortable for some people, I believe such conversations are good. Like Mr. Rogers used to say in the movie made about him, "if you can name it, you can manage it."
A commentator on FoxNews shared how he is not convinced that police brutality is a racial issue. If you hold such a view, you could consider that police brutality and unnecessary use of violence affects all races. Not too long ago, Nicholas Bils, a white man, who grew up in our parish was shot dead as he ran away from police. He was unarmed. Kathy Bils, the mother of Nicholas only heard back from police after she went on TV. They are a white family.
There are still many unanswered questions. Let us not get stuck on whether George Floyd’s killing was an act of racism, but let us focus first on reform of police so that police brutality ends.
I disapprove of making issues of social justice political. Training officers to de-escalate situations, better measures to get rid of violent officers, and better accountability when wrongdoing occurs to me are not political issues, and not just Black Lives issues. I believe these measures are for the common good of all. Although I am curious about the new model of justice and peace in Minneapolis that will replace the police, my personal opinion is that I am not sure that defunding the Police would be the answer, but actually hiring more police officers so that they are not overstressed or overtired, along with the accountability procedures and de-escalating training I mentioned. Tiredness and stress can lead to irritability and poor judgment. I support widespread use of body cameras and outside investigations of misconduct.
Please let us know your email address by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add you to our emailing list.
I am so happy to welcome you back!
Fr. Carlos Medina, OSA