Dear St. Charles Family and All Friends in Christ,
We look forward to welcoming you back to St. Charles for the public celebration of Mass this Sunday, June 7, for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Given all the disturbing events and news that surround us in these days, if our eyes and heart are not fixed on the Lord, it is easy to get swept up in the mentality of the crowd and and get consumed with anger and anxiety. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we make our way back to the in person celebration of the Mass, for we discover in the mystery we celebrate, that our Lord is “a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity” (Ex. 4:6) It is God’s love and mercy that we need most right now. This is what we seek. God’s mercy is what we are called to share with a desperate world. We are healed and reconciled by a divine love that is given to us in the person of Jesus. “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (Jn. 3:16). As we contemplate the mystery of God’s love poured out for us in our weakness and sin, may we be renewed in our mission as Christians: that we too are sent to draw others by our lives back into a community of life and love.
While our county remains in the Yellow Phase of statewide reopening, all of us need to do our part to make sure that our return to Mass is a peaceful and safe experience for all. Please take the time to read the instructions below and to watch this instructional video: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7201957/video/425226684 We ask everyone to follow these guidelines when attending Mass at St. Charles during this period:
- The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation continues to be lifted during the Yellow Phase. There is no obligation to attend Mass at this time.
- Please stay home if you are sick or have not been feeling well recently.
- Please stay home if you are at higher risk of severe illness with COVID19. If you are uncertain about your risk status, please consult your doctor and also the CDC Guidelines at the link below.
- Click here to read the CDC Guidelines for those at higher risk: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-higher-risk.html
- Mass will continue to be available via live-stream.
- The live video feed will be available right on our parish website: http://stcharlesbensalem.org
- on our parish Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/scbbensalem/
- and on our YouTube channel:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSf0XIKmwgRsxkG80ItXrwg
- Sunday: 7:30 a.m. (English) and 12:00 noon (Spanish)
- Weekday: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, 8:00 a.m. (English), starting Monday, June 8, 2020.
BEFORE COMING TO MASS
- Please wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water.
- Before entering the Church, please put on a face mask or cloth covering. Please bring your own face mask or covering. Everyone (except those 2 years of age and younger) attending Mass is to wear a face covering or mask throughout the celebration of Mass except for the reception of Holy Communion.
- Please do not come to Mass if you are sick or are at higher risk for severe illness with COVID19 (see above).
- Missals and hymnals will not be in the pews during this period. You are welcome to bring your own missal/readings with you or follow the Mass using a personal electronic device. The readings and a printable hymn booklet are available on the parish website. A one-time-use worship aid with hymns will be available at Mass.
ENTERING THE CHURCH
- Please use the “Parking Lot” entrance that leads into the Guadalupe Chapel. This will be the only entrance available.
- Please check in with your family name and a phone number with a Reopening Team member.
- Hand sanitizers will be available at the Church entrance. Please use the hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the Church.
- A single-use worship aid will be available on the way into the main church.
- Every third pew will be open to ensure proper social distancing. Please only use the pews not closed off by the blue painter’s tape.
- Members of the same household may sit together as normal. Please place 6 feet between your household and members of a different household sharing the same pew.
- Members of our Reopening Team will be available to assist with seating.
- There will be no collection taken up during the Offertory. Please drop your offering in the box on the way into the main church or in the box near the rear vestibule.
- There will be no Sign of Peace during Mass during the Yellow Phase.
- There should be no holding of hands during the Our Father.
RECEPTION OF HOLY COMMUNION
- Communion will be distributed in a single-file line up the main aisle of the church. There will be a communion station at the entrance to the sanctuary and at the break of the church.
- Please maintain social distancing in the Communion line. Please keep several pews between yourself and the person in front of you while in line and when returning to your pew. The markers on the floor indicate a distance of six feet.
- The flow of the communion line will be one-way. Please return to the pew using the side aisles.
- To avoid one person climbing over another in the pews when going to communion or when returning to his/her seat, everyone in a pew with a non-household member, even those not receiving communion, should follow the communion processional to maintain the social distancing.
- Please follow the direction of the Reopening Team members for when your pew can enter the communion processional.
- Please use the hand sanitizer from the sanitizing station prior to approaching the Communion minister.
- During the Yellow Phase, the faithful are asked to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Those who wish to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, please sit in the section of pews and use the communion station in front of the baptismal font.
- Please remove your mask before receiving Holy Communion.
EXITING THE CHURCH
- At the conclusion of Mass, please exit the Church and proceed directly to your car. Please do not congregate for any reason.
- Please take a parish bulletin and the worship aid home with you. Bulletins will be available at the entrance and near the exits of the church
- Please leave your mask on until you exit the Church.
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
St. Charles will follow the guidelines from the CDC for sanitation as we resume public Masses.
- The church has been professionally cleaned and sanitized just prior to our reopening.
- High-touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected after each celebration by our Reopening Team.
Since this situation is new to all of us and there are many unknowns, I do not expect that we will get everything right in these first weeks of reopening. It will be awkward in many ways and there will be bumps in the road. But I can promise you that our Reopening Team will reevaluate our procedures weekly to see what went well, what didn’t, and what can we do differently to make things better. Our ability to increase the Mass schedule will depend on the number of volunteers we have who will assist with greeting, coordinating the flow of the people for communion, and sanitizing the church after each Mass. If you are willing join our Reopening Team to help in any of these roles, please contact the parish office at 215-638-3625 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A clear “job description” and checklist will be provided for each position. Let’s take the words of St. Paul to heart this week in this time of preparation: “encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” As always, I am grateful for your prayers, support, and love of our parish..
Sincerely in Christ,
Rev. Philip M. Forlano, Pastor
St. Charles Borromeo Parish
1731 Hulmeville Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
(215) 638-3625, ext. 726