May 27, 2020
Dear parishioners and friends,
There is much mention in the media that churches are about to “reopen.” As Catholics, we are a Sacramental and Liturgical Church as well as a Scriptural one. Our worship and traditions make specific demands on us. “Reopening” is not a simple as it might sound.
I would like to bring you up to date about our plans here in St. Joseph.
Diocesan directives have stated that public Masses may be offered in churches, providing that no more than 10 people are in attendance and that they will not be offered Communion. In light of that, we have decided not to begin the public celebration of Mass until more parishioners will be allowed to attend and they would be offered the opportunity to receive Communion. The video of daily Mass will still be posted on the parish website for the immediate future.
Confessions will be again scheduled for Saturdays, 1-2:00 p.m. Confessions will be heard in the Loggetta (the small room accessed through Fourth Street vestibule.) Penitents will be directed to sit in the back row near the windows, and the priest will be seated in the front row, nearest the altar, to maintain the proper distance. Face masks should be worn in confession. Other opportunities for confession can be made by contacting one of the priests for an appointment.
Weddings will still be celebrated. However, following the current directives, only 10 people, including the bridal party may attend; and if it is a Nuptial Mass, Communion will not be distributed. No programs or hand-outs are permitted. All family and guests will be expected to maintain social distancing and to wear face masks throughout the ceremony. We hope that this will change in the near future – but these are the directives currently in effect.
Funeral Masses will be celebrated, again, following the directives stated above. Due to the restricted space in funeral homes, parish staff will not be conducting wake services. Families will be directed to contact the priest who will be celebrating the Funeral Mass by phone to make arrangements for the liturgy (Scripture readings, etc.)
The rectory office will be open: weekdays 9:30a.m.-5:00 p.m. and weekends, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. All appropriate safeguards (distance and face masks) must be observed for admittance to the office.
Be assured of our ongoing prayers for your safety and our hope that we will continue to come through these difficult times.
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,
James P. Swiader
Reverend Msgr. James P. Swiader