For those who have not heard the happy news, with the lifting of the governor’s stay-at-home order, Bishop Paprocki has called for the resumption of public Masses in our diocese. The Cathedral will resume its regular Mass, Reconciliation, and Exposition schedule beginning with the 4PM Mass on Saturday, June 6th.
As you might imagine, there will be some changes in how we worship for the time being:
- Masses will be celebrated using safe distancing practices. You may find that, for now, your favorite pew has been closed to achieve this practice. With the practice of safe distancing being used, masks will not be required for those coming for Mass, as long as safe distancing is respected. Those wishing to use masks for the entirety of their time in the Cathedral are free to do so. There will be chairs set up in the atrium for those who wish to attend Mass from there but they will need to enter the Cathedral if they wish to receive Holy Communion.
- There will be music at the Sunday Masses but there will be no congregational singing. The music that is chosen will be done to lend itself to this temporary restriction and the parts of the Mass will be spoken. The hymnals and missalettes will be removed from the pews. At this time, there is to be no distribution of parish bulletins but please visit www.spicathedral.org where the weekly bulletin may be found.
- Distribution of the Precious Blood and the physical Sign of Peace will continue to not be offered at this time.
- Following Mass, the pews will need to be sanitized, therefore the faithful will not be allowed to congregate in the Cathedral or atrium, accept for silent prayer. Parishioners who wish to visit with each other must do so outside in the open air.
- Given the size of the Cathedral church and overflow in the atrium, the normal size of our weekend Masses, and using a temporary seating capacity of 25%, it is not foreseen that any type of reservation system or lottery will need to be employed for those wishing to attend Mass.
- Thank you for your understanding and consideration of these realities that we must temporarily observe.
Having shared with you these temporary changes and practices, I remind you that:
- Bishop Paprocki’s general dispensation that lifts the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect. Those who choose not to attend Sunday Mass do not commit a grave sin.
- Those parishioners suffering from a contagious illness or who have been exposed to a contagious illness, such as COVID-19, are not to attend Mass. This observence should always be practiced, even outside of a pandemic.
- Those parishioners who are have greater health risks due to age or other factors as defined by the CDC are strongly asked to exercise prudence in prayerfully discerning their own Mass attendance at this time.
- The Sunday 10AM Mass will continue to be live streamed at www.dio.org/live. Weekday Masses will no longer be live streamed after the morning Mass on Saturday June 6th. The daily live stream is done using a smart phone and tri-pod in front of the altar and this set up will not be practical with the resumption of weekday Masses with a congregation. Daily Mass can be found live streamed at many locations on the internet such as at www.ewtn.com/tv.
To say that these past months have been strange is an understatement, but thanks be to God that, in so many corners, we are able to resume some normalcy in our everyday living as we press forward. In all that we do, we need to exercise prudential judgment.
On a personal note, I know that Fathers Friedel and Rankin, along with myself, are happy to have this ability to worship with you again before our new assignments take effect with the priest personnel changes across the diocese on July 1st.
I pray that the Lord will continue to bless you and yours with good health and all good gifts. Let us be mindful of all those who are sick, suffering, unemployed or underemployed, or in need in any way. Let us also continue to pray for healing in our nation, that we may always have the grace to see people for who they are first and foremost, children of God. I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Very Reverend Christopher A. House