Friday, May 15, 2020

My Dearest Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ,

Over the past two months, I have become more fully aware of your love for the Holy Mass, and you have also become more fully aware of how much I miss you.

I have noted many of you saying to me over Zoom meetings, “I long to come back to Mass!” or “I long to receive Jesus in the Eucharist again!” Beautiful! St. Mary Magdalene was deprived of Jesus for three days, and flung herself at His feet when she got to receive His presence once again. May you all share her love, but at a distance of 6 ft! Nothing, not even awesome live stream Masses, replaces the real encounter with the Real Presence of His Body and Blood. I feel it, and you feel it, it has been too long.

It is with great pleasure that we received the announcement from Bishop Boyea that public Masses will resume. Public weekend Masses will begin May 30-31 with 25% seating capacity. Daily Masses will be at 5% capacity beginning May 18; however, this happens to be the same time I am in D.C. for a meet and greet, and so public daily Masses will resume for us on May 26.

Before resuming, we will soon send out information regarding the details on how Mass will be celebrated and how to sign up to attend a Mass. For example, there will be reduced occupancy in the church, some pews will be closed off, we will need to wear masks, the distribution of Holy Communion will be a little different, and so on. It is important to note that now is not the time to be minimalists in the area of safety. I have broken many bones over the course of my life, clearly unforeseen each time, but it was always the result of trivializing my own safety in the moment. Haha. Since we are responsible for one another when we are with one another, it will be particularly important for us to show charity, patience, and care for each other’s health and safety.

Note, Bishop Boyea has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass to July 31.  This dispensation applies to everyone, and so use prudent judgement on whether you come based on expert advice such as the CDC.

I was personally hoping the lockdown would not be this long, and we would all be together again soon like normal. There seems to be a new normal emerging, whatever that is. We will remain optimistic and forward thinking in our approach.

With all this in mind, please look forward to a message on the details for attending Mass. In the meantime, get a mask. If you do not have a mask, do not fret, little one, for the parish was already thinking of you. We have many masks, handmade, for both adults and children. Just call the office and we will hook you up.

How, you may ask, do I sign up for Mass? We will have Sign Up Genius available soon on the parish website for that, or, if you do not have the internet you can call the office. Seat reservation will only apply to Sunday Masses (9am and 11am) and Saturday Vigil (4:30pm). Daily Masses will be first come, first serve until capacity is reached (Confirmation and/or First Communion families get first consideration for the weekday Masses).

I really, really, look forward to seeing you all again!

Yours in Christ through Mary,
Fr. Mark Rutherford

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