Dear Parishioners and Friends of the Cathedral,
Just one month ago, our Cathedral parish experienced a major change with the departure of two beloved priests in Father House and Father Friedel and the arrival of three new priests, Father Chineke, Father Vahling, and myself. Of course, we are blessed that Father Rankin is still with us, though in a different capacity in his service to Bishop Paprocki. I know I speak for all of us past and present that we are all very grateful for your support during this time of transition. The new team of priests have thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of you and we look forward to continuing to do so in the coming weeks and months.
We are also approaching the two-month mark of the return of public masses here and throughout our diocese. Thanks be to God, everything seems to be going very smoothly. While the modifications to Mass have taken some getting used to, I think we have settled in well. While we all desire the return of various elements of the Mass, we must be prudent and cautious.
One slight modification that we will introduce beginning this weekend concerns music. For our Sunday liturgies at 4 PM on Saturday, and 10:00 am and 5 pm on Sunday, we will re-introduce the singing of the Responsorial Psalm and the Gospel Acclamation with the following modifications:
- The Responsorial Psalm will be sung by the cantor alone. After singing the response one time, the cantor will immediately proceed to the verses, without stopping between the verses, then concluding with the response. The congregation will not join in the response.
- The Gospel Acclimation will be similar in that the Alleluia will be sung by the cantor, followed immediately by the verse, then concluding with the Alleluia sung by the cantor alone. Again, the congregation will not join the Alleluia.
It is also helpful to be reminded of the practice we introduced concerning the reception of Holy Communion during this time:
- When coming for Holy Communion, please observe safe distancing by standing only on the spots marked on the floor by blue tape.
- When you approach the communion minister, please remain at the final marking. The minister will say “The Body of Christ”, to which you will respond “Amen”, after which you may approach the minister.
Finally, below you will find the general guidelines that were sent out by Father House two months ago. They would be worth your review as well:
- 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, except 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 observance 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.
Once again, we are grateful for your cooperation with the above measures. It is our greatest privilege as priests to celebrate Mass for you and with you. Please know of our continued prayers for you and our gratitude for your prayers for us. I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Very Reverend Brian C. Alford