We pray for great wisdom as we are invited to come forth in cautious gathering with the opening of public Masses. Out of true concern for the faith of the people of God, the Wisconsin province of bishops has set forth guidelines for us to follow. Our public Mass offering must be approved by the Bishop’s office before we can proceed, but we are on track to seek that approval for our first Public Masses next weekend, the Solemnity of Pentecost, according to our usual schedule.
Saturday, May 30 - 5 pm at SS Peter and Paul
Sunday, May 31 - 8:15 am at St. John the Apostle
Sunday, May 31 - 10:15 am at SS Peter and Paul
But access to these public Masses must follow the guidelines. So if you plan to attend, please be aware of the information we are putting out during the week prior. We will post it on the church doors, and send it out through the parishes’ website and YouTube channel as well as the school FaceBook. The guidelines involve the usual practices we see other countries and states adopting as we inch back into normal life. They include social distancing, one way traffic flow entering and exiting the church, no physical contact even when social distancing cannot be maintained, cleanliness and sanitation. Much of this will happen behind the scenes, but all of it will affect the way we worship. It will be a slow return for sure. But we are grateful to the state, county and church authorities who are cooperating to help open our society in a reasonable way that mitigates the risk and spread of the virus and keeps us as healthy as possible. Please remember that no one is obliged to attend the Mass in person. The dispensation set in place when public Masses were suspended is still in place. So we encourage those who are in higher risk categories for COVID-19 due to age or pre-existing conditions to continue watching Mass on TV or through the social media we have become accustomed to. The Saturday evening Mass will be recorded and posted and the Sunday 10:15 am Mass will be live streamed even as public Masses are allowed. This remains the primary way for the vulnerable to “keep the Sabbath” and worship God in a healthy and holy way.
For those who chose to attend, there is much to learn. We must keep the number of attendees to 25% percent capacity of our church spaces. At St. John’s we are limiting attendance to 80 people. At SS Peter and Paul we are limiting attendance to 150. At this point we do not think there will be a need for advance sign-up or the assignment of families to particular Masses. But as you arrive, you will notice that access to pews will be shut off with ribbon in order to enforce the 6 foot distance for people not living in the same household. Only one set of doors will be used for the entrance and one set of doors will be used for the exit. Our movement into, within and out of the church will be directed by trained ushers and doors will only be touched by the same ushers. We recommend, therefore, that you arrive a little earlier and give time to entering and settling in a way that follows distancing regulations.
The liturgy itself will also be affected. No worship aids or song books will be available and a carefully controlled flow for Communion are the two stand out changes to our prayer. But there are others you will come to know. For example, hand sanitizer is the new holy water. It will be everywhere. Masks are recommended for all and required for the ushers and those helping to direct our movement. A small supply will be available at each parish, but they are expensive. So if you are planning to wear a face mask, we recommend you bring your own.
After each Mass a crew of trained volunteers will have to clean and sanitize the church naves. We are currently working to get supplies and create a schedule of volunteer cleaning teams for both parishes. If you are willing and able to help out, please let us know at the parish offices. We are asked to only allow volunteers who are outside the vulnerable categories to help. Therefore, anyone who has significant health conditions and/or is over 65 years of age will have to be pre-approved for the job.
May God be pleased to gather us safely back together and one day return to us the pleasure of worshipping Him in fullness with the joy of our entire community gathered in His name. Until then, may our efforts of isolation and protective congregating merit us the joy of His presence. Amen.
– Fr. Woody
*The following things are Postponed untill Further notice*
We encourage you to continue your prayer from home, the domestic church. Mass is available in televised and streamed formats. (Links and other resources can be found under the COVID-19 Tab).
OFFERINGS for mass and reconciliation
ST JOHN'S MASS TIMES
Tuesday: 4:30 pm
Wednesday: 1:30 pm
(@ Gunderson Tri-County)
Friday: 9:00 am
Saturday: 9:00 am
Sunday: 8:15 am
SS PETER & PAUL MASS TIMES
Tuesday: 8:30 am
Wednesday: 8:30 am
Thursday: 7:00 am
Saturday: 5:00 pm
Sunday: 10:15 am
Sacrament of Reconciliation
St. John's: Saturday 9:45 - 10:15 am Sunday 7:45 - 8:15 am
SS Peter & Paul Saturday 4:30 – 5:00 pm