From the Pastor’s Desk – 6/28/20

Announcements Liturgy Parish Life Schedule

Important Sunday Mass Update

A reminder that the dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation is still in effect!

Phase II Extension and its impact

As a reminder these policies flow from charity. We are not out of the woods yet. I continue to be made aware of new cases in our area that have impacted our community.  It is a true act of love to desire to protect our neighbor so we may continue to participate in greater ways as a community during these difficult times.  We need to be examples of love in the world, a love that sacrifices for the other if we hope to evangelize and transform the culture one act of love at a time.

Sunday Mass

We are moving indoors for our Masses and away from the drive in Mass. We are re-implementing our regular Sunday Mass schedule of 8:30 and 11:30 am with confessions a half hour before each Mass.  The new capacity will be a 75 person maximum with every other pew being blocked off.  If there is a need for a third Mass because of lack of capacity the schedule may need to be modified to accommodate a third Sunday Mass in the future.  

Mass Sign-up Still in effect:  Because our capacity is limited by the need to social distance we are limited to 75 persons in the church proper.  We will also be having a mask free area in the fellowship hall for those who fall into the the exempted categories defined below under use of masks and face coverings. There is a 20 person limit per Mass in the fellowship hall.  This is only for those who fall into the below exempted categories and their parents in the case of minors who must be accompanied by an adult. Mass will be broadcast in the fellowship hall via livestream and Communion will be administered in the hall.

Mass Sign-up has changed from Signup Genius to Flocknote.  The sign up still functions the same, but it is our hope that Flocknote will prove easier to use for everyone.

Seating at Mass: Please wait for the ushers to seat you in the church and cooperate with their instructions.  The ushers have been instructed on seating strategy to maximize our available space based on number of people and size of households to be seated. They may on occasion need to rearrange how people are seated to best maintain capacity and effective and safe distancing. This means people may not be able to sit where they prefer. We ask that you be patient, charitable, and docile in following the ushers’ instructions. Please keep in mind that we are a loving family of faith and all in this together.  

Communion: Please wait for the ushers to release your individual pew to proceed to Communion.  As a function of the Phase II directives and the Directives from the Diocese it is not necessary to social distance within families and it is not necessary to purify and sanitize between individual family members for the distribution of Holy Communion. In light of this fact I am asking couples and families to come to the same communion station together.  Please observe the Laminated Communion Flow Charts in the pews.  Please maintain proper social distancing between families when coming forward for Communion.  

Communion for Fellowship Hall: We will have a Minister of Holy Communion come to the Fellowship Hall to administer Communion to those seated in the Hall.  Parishioners will receive Holy Communion as a family/household as they would in the church.

Offertory: I would still like to encourage as many of our parishioners or visitors to give online if possible.  Giving online is safer and easier for us to manage.

Offertory baskets will be available during Mass at the back of the church at the head of each aisle.  We are asking that offerings be placed in the baskets if at all possible before the start of Mass and before the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins at the latest.  The offertory baskets will be taken up before the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist 

Use of Masks/Face Coverings: While outside it is not necessary to wear a mask or face covering as long as we are able to maintain social distancing of 6 feet or more from non family or household members.  Face coverings should be worn outside if social distancing cannot be maintained.  I continue to ask that face coverings be worn at all times inside the church building with the exception of the moment of reception of Holy Communion and the following situations outlined by the governor’s recent directive to take effect 5pm Friday 6-26-20. 

Mask and Face Covering Exceptions:

  • Children 2 years of age or younger should not wear a mask
  • Children 11 years of age or younger are not required to wear a mask but if possible are still highly recommended to wear a mask or face covering as much as possible.  
  • Individuals with breathing difficulties or other medical conditions that make it difficult or dangerous to wear a face mask or covering are not required to do so.

I apologize for any inconvenience or hardship the new changes in Mass may cause some of our faithful.  We are doing the best we can to try to accommodate as many of our parishioners ability to safely and comfortably attend Mass as possible.  I understand that some parishioners may not feel comfortable moving inside for Mass, while others were not able to attend Mass in their cars for one reason or another.  My hope and prayer is that conditions will continue to improve to promote a great sense of safety for all to be able to worship fruitfully.  Please know of my prayers and support during these difficult times.

First Friday and First Saturday Adoration

This Friday the 3rd is First Friday and we will be having our normal first Friday Adoration from the conclusion of Morning Mass concluding at 10 pm with Benediction.  At 7 pm this First Friday during Adoration will be a Holy Hour of Reparation to pray for Peace and Healing in our Nation we will have properly sanitized booklets for parishioners to use and return.

First Saturday Adoration will be from 8 am to 9 am to pray for the unborn.  We will not yet be traveling to Asheville after Mass to pray at the Planned Parenthood facility.

Friday Holy Hour of Reparation for Peace and Healing in Nation

Beginning this First Friday at 7 pm during all day Adoration we will be beginning a Friday 7 pm Holy Hour of Reparation to pray for peace and healing in our nation.  This will continue each Friday with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 7 pm and Benediction at the conclusion of the prayers around 8:15 pm.  We will have booklets available that have been properly disinfected.  If anyone would like their own they can let us know and they can keep their booklet and we will order replacements.

Fourth of July Independence Day Celebration Possibilities

We plan on having a Parish Independence Day celebration on Saturday the 4th of July, weather permitting.  We have checked with the Town of Sylva and they will be having their Independence Day Fireworks display on Saturday evening the 4th of July.  We will have a bilingual Drive-in Parish Mass at 6:30 pm rain or shine so there is enough time to finish with Mass and break things down after Mass before the fireworks display begins.  Families are encouraged to bring their own portable folding chairs, food, and beverage to share within their respective family.  We then can share our time together as a parish family in our parking lot as some of the best seats in the house for the annual display.  We ask that everyone maintain the proper social distancing protocols of 6 feet between non-family or household members, and if less than 6 feet with any non-family/household members that masks are worn during such occasions.