May 31, 2020 – Father’s Ramblings

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The Lord is Risen! He is truly Risen!

Now it really feels like good news. Let’s spread the good news: the diocese has confirmed that the public Masses resume on Friday, May 29, 2020. We get to celebrate Pentecost! Thank you, Jesus!

Remember that Bishop Walkowiak has granted a general dispensation from the Sunday obligation through the end of June. This dispensation is granted to everyone. If you have health concerns because of age or underlying conditions, or concerns because you care for someone who is vulnerable, and these continue beyond the end of June, please contact me.

Two factors are going to limit the capacity of the churches for a while. First, we are allowed to use only 25% of the seating capacity of each church. This coincides with the social distancing expectations of six feet between family groups. To help with this I have already roped off every other pew in the churches. We will be posting a link to a digital sign-up on the parish websites by end of business on Thursday. Please use this to help spread across the various Masses, even if it means you have to go to Mass at your least preferred time.

This will place greater pressure on the people of St. Anthony because that church is much smaller. I ask that only St. Anthony’s parishioners sign up for the 8:30 am Mass.

The 5 pm Mass on Saturday is reserved for our vulnerable population, whether they are vulnerable because of age (60+) or underlying health conditions. I encourage those who might be in this group to use the 5 pm. Mass in order to free up space at the other Masses.

Temporarily I will be adding a noon Mass on Sunday at St. Mary. This will give us extra space to spread out across the Masses.

In summary:

Saturday, 5:00 pm – Vulnerable population Mass (age 60+ and those with health conditions) Sunday, 8:30 am – St. Anthony’s parishioners only

Sunday, 10:30 am – General sign-up

Sunday, 12:00 pm – General sign-up

After the Masses, I ask people to not congregate inside. First, the church proper is a place of prayer, not a place for conversation. This is a good time for many to develop better respect for the church and for those wishing to pray after Mass. Gathering outside in the fresh air helps everyone to spread out and mitigate any risk. Also, it gives us a chance to wipe down pews and door handles, especially after the 10:30 am. Mass.

Remember, because the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is dispensed through June, you are welcome to come to daily Mass during the week.

Those are the broad Mass settings. Now we turn to specifics.

  • Again, you are to maintain social distance between family groups.
  • Face masks are highly encouraged. I cannot require them because it would be impossible to enforce, but they are highly encouraged. Remember your neighbor.
  • Each person/family is responsible for bringing their own hand sanitizer.
  • When you come into church, please remember that other people should not have to crawl over you to get into the pew.
  • Holy Water fonts will remain empty for a while.
  • The Sign of Peace is suspended.
  • When approaching for Communion, you must take off your face mask and gloves if you are wearing gloves.
  • I and any Eucharistic Ministers will wear face masks during the distribution of Communion.
  • Communion will be under one form (bread) only. If you want to request a low gluten host, please see me before Mass.
  • Communion on the tongue is an individual’s right. There will be a table with sanitizer on it so I can purify my hands if I touch someone during the distribution of Communion.
  • Communion will be done with one side of the church coming forward at a time to receive. The blocked off pews provide markers for where to stand to keep proper distance.
  • For the collection, there will be a basket at the main entrance. Please place your offering in there so we do not have to pass baskets.
  • You are welcome to stay in the church to pray, but when you leave please exit the building immediately.

It might seem like a lot, but after we do it once, I  think we will get the hang of it. Remember, we are doing this as an act of charity for our neighbors.

May the peace of Christ be with you always!

–Fr. Ferris

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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