Reopening our church with limitations
Dear parishioners and friends of St. Nicholas Tavelich Church,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! (cf. Eph 1:2, Phil 1:2) In these words of St. Paul the priest greets the congregation at the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration (Holy Mass). As the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council states, “the Eucharist is the Source and Summit of Christians Life” (LG 11). We have been blessed abundantly by God the Father to be able to, once again, gather and celebrate the sacred mysteries – the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Mass Times & Attendance
In compliance with the current provincial regulations, we are allowed to fill up to 10% of the church capacity at any one time. This obviously is not enough to give the whole community a chance to participate at Mass of the Lord’s Day (Saturday evening and Sunday morning masses). Therefore, the places for the Mass of the Lord’s day are going to be available by invitation only. Calls are being made in alphabetical order to give a chance to everyone who would like to partake in the Mass of the Lord’s Day. We will continue to live-stream Sunday 11:00AM mass.
Attendance at the masses during the week, is on the first come first serve basis. In other words, you don’t have to be invited or register to attend mass during the week. Once we reach the limit (currently 33 people) the church is full. Upon entering the church, you will need to sign in your name and number for contact tracing purposes. This also applies to the masses on Ash Wednesday.
This process is going to require much patience and sacrifice on the part of each member of the community. But I have faith that with the help of the Father in a spirit of fraternal love it’s going to work. This sacrifice should be much easier than the one we made in the last 3 months without the ability to come to mass.
- Gathering protocols
The protocols that were in place before we stopped to gather for mass in person in November are going to be in place. These include and are not limited to: if you are sick or experience symptoms of COVID-19 please stay home, wearing a face covering (not required when seated 6 feet from the other person), physical distancing, no singing except for a cantor, sanitize your hands before entry. Please see the documents from the Archdiocese below for more details. Thank you in advance for following these protocols.
- “Only they would have us remember the poor…” (Gal 2:10)
The health crisis and the restrictions associated with it have brought much suffering upon many. We have experienced our own poverty to some extent. Let us continue to help one another through this time by prayer and works of charity. Starting from our own families first, parish community and the wider world at large. For example, being patient with one another, praying for the person who hurt us instead of lashing back or complaining, forgiving one another from the heart, and volunteering with sanitizing the church premises. I’m asking the Father to send upon our community a spirit of fraternal love and mercy as we resume the celebration of the Eucharist.
I’d like to leave you with two quotes to ponder in this regard from St. Theresa of Lisieux (aka St. Theresa of Child Jesus):
“Our Lord does not so much look at the greatness of our actions, or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them.”
“Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.”
Allow me to close with a prayer from a funeral liturgy: “Dear friends, may every mark of affection and every gesture of friendship that you give to others be a sign of God’s peace for you.”