Welcome Home/ Public Masses Resuming

May 26, 2020 

Dear Our Lady of Consolation Family,

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. ~Hebrews 12:1-2a

The opening scripture of this letter offers us a challenge to move forward in perseverance and faith through difficult times.  Over the past eleven weeks we have endured situations that no one could have ever anticipated.  One of the most difficult things that Catholics across the world have had to endure is the absence of the Eucharist in their daily and/or weekly lives. 

At Our Lady of Consolation, you have remained connected to the Eucharist in many ways by participating in our digital Mass and other Facebook Live Faith programming.  Although these programs have helped us receive our Spiritual Communion and have sustained us through our distance, they can never compare to receiving Christ in the Eucharist and adoring Him in person. 

Because of the realness and true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, I cannot express how deeply joyful I am to announce that Our Lady of Consolation Parish will resume public Masses on Friday, May 29 in accordance to the directives of Bishop Walkowiak. 

I am sure you will agree with me that the Our Lady of Consolation staff in all departments; parish, faith formation and school; have done an incredible job of continuing to share our faith and keep our parish United in Christ.  It is for this reason that our first public Mass will be celebrated with, and for, our amazing staff.  Please join us on Friday, May 29 at 10am on Facebook as we honor our OLC Superheroes.  The Our Lady of Consolation family is invited to join us starting the very next day, Saturday, May 30. 

Our ability to resume public Masses comes with it some necessary obligations and adjustments to how you’ve experienced Mass previously in our parish.  Those obligations and directives are necessary to protect our entire community.  Please read all of the information provided with this letter to ensure that you understand the expectations and are able to join us for Mass safely. 

I also ask you for your patience, understanding and prayers.  During this first phase there may be delays, hiccups and hurdles.  Our parish staff is committed to making this the safest and most welcoming experience possible; however, Mass will feel different than you remember.  Keep in mind that we believe these adjustments are temporary. 

I am so incredibly excited to have my “little flock” coming home!  I have missed you very much! 

God Bless,    

Fr. Anthony (Tony) Russo
Pastor


Resuming Public Mass at Our Lady of Consolation

GENERAL PRINCIPLES 

1.       The health and safety of everyone are critical to the success of our returning to public Masses.

2.       These guidelines are subject to change based on the most current information we receive from civil and public heath officials at the local, state, and national levels, as well as from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and our diocese.

3.       Mass will look and feel different since you last attended.  We anticipate that these guidelines will be temporary.

4.       The “patience of a saint” and your full cooperation will be required as we fine tune our movements and seating.  Occasionally we may stumble along the way.

5.       Those who fall into the defined vulnerable category, (as defined by Public Health officials) i.e., those over 60 years old, those who are pregnant, or those with underlying medical conditions are encouraged to remain at home and join us on our Our Lady of Consolation Facebook page.

6.       If you are sick, please stay home. 

SIGNING UP FOR MASS

1.       In this first phase of re-opening, seating will be handled by sign-up, on a first come, first serve basis, using EventBrite as we have used for events in the past.

2.       Due to public health restrictions on attendance, we can fill 25% of our total sanctuary seating.  Approximately 250 seats will be available to begin phase one.

3.       This means that not everyone will be able to attend Mass on Saturday or Sunday.  For this reason, Bishop Walkowiak has dispensed the obligation to attend a weekend Mass until June 30.

4.       We ask parishioners to sign up to attend only ONE Mass per week (by choosing any of the days with Mass is celebrated during the week).  During this phase we will publish the Mass schedule for five weeks beginning Saturday, May 30 through Tuesday, June 30 – you may sign up for one Mass in each week at this same time.  All Masses will be celebrated in the main church.

5.       To sign up for a Mass, please go to our parish website and click on the Mass Sign Up link or call the parish office to schedule the Masses you wish to attend.

6.       The Mass schedule will be as follows once public Masses resume: 

7.       We ask those who have more flexible schedules to please attend one of the weekday morning Masses.

8.       If you are not attending Mass on Saturday evening or Sunday, we ask that you please continue to ‘keep the Lord’s Day holy’ by viewing the Mass on our Our Lady of Consolation Facebook page or from the parish website. 

ARRIVING FOR MASS

1.       Please plan to arrive a minimum of 20 minutes before Mass.  As you approach the church building please remember to maintain a minimum social distance of 6 feet in every direction from others who are not members of your own family.

An EventBrite reservation only guarantees your seat at Mass if you arrive a minimum of 10 minutes prior to the start of Mass.  Available unfilled spaces, at 10 minutes to Mass, will be filled with walk-in guests on a first come, first serve basis until Mass begins or we have reached our legal capacity (which ever is first).

2.       Face masks will be required for all individuals except for those who are unable to wear one for medical reasons.  Children under two years of age are not required to wear a mask.

3.       You are encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer for you and your family to use during Mass.  All guests are asked to apply hand sanitizer

     a.       As you arrive

     b.       During the reception of communion
     c.       As you leave

4.       In case of rain, please come prepared with rain gear as lines for entrance will still be outdoors.

5.       The Baptismal font and all Holy Water fonts will remain empty.

6.       Please park in the South Parking Lot or the new parking lot. 

7.       The only entrance that will be open is the entry located by the parish office.  All other doors will be locked at all times.

SEATING AT MASS 

The required social distancing will unfortunately not permit us to sit in our ‘preferred seats’.  Every other pew will be marked off as unavailable.  Seating will not be permitted at the ends of the center aisle in order to provide 6 feet of distancing for the processional and recessional communion lines.

1.       Ushers can assist you with seating.  Members of the same household may be seated together.  Seating will be staggered to accommodate couples, singles, families.

2.       It is important to follow the staff and ushers’ instructions which will enable efficient and safe seating for all, as well as ensure that Mass begins on time.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

3.       For public health purposes, the hymnals, missalettes and any other shared resources have been removed from the pews and commons. 

4.       Pews have been marked with 6-foot distance using blue tape.  Please use these as a guide to remain properly social distanced in the pews.  Ushers may ask you to adjust seating if needed.

 

  

THE CELEBRATION OF MASS

1.       The Mass of the day will be celebrated in the normal fashion with the following exceptions:

     a.       There will be no passing of the collection basket.  A basket will be located in the gathering space where you may place your offering before or after Mass.

    b.       The gifts of bread and wine will no longer be brought forward in procession.

    c.       There will be no exchange of the sign of peace. 

    d.       Reception of the Precious Blood will not be offered during this initial phase. 

    e.       Do not hold hands during the Our Father.  You may hold hands with your direct family if you wish.
 

RECEPTION OF HOLY COMMUNION

1.       Ushers will excuse you from your pew to the Communion line.

2.       Black tape markings will mark the distance to be maintained between individuals on the Communion line.

3.       Please leave your mask on as you come forward to receive Communion.  You may not wear gloves if receiving Communion in your hand.

4.       Signage is located at the 12-foot mark, please apply hand sanitizer at this station.

5.       As you approach the 6-foot signage please stop and wait for the priest or Extraordinary Ministry of Holy Communion to say, “The Body of Christ”, respond “Amen”, remove your mask and then come forward to receive Holy Communion.  Replace your mask after consuming the Body of Christ, before processing back to your seat.

6.       You are discouraged from receiving Holy Communion on the tongue for hygienic reasons, but if you choose to do so, please extend your tongue far enough so that the minister does not accidentally touch your tongue. After the distribution of Holy Communion on the tongue, regardless of whether contact has been made, the communion minister will sanitize their hands. 

DEPARTURE FROM MASS

1.       Following our closing hymn, ushers will excuse you from your pew beginning from the back row.

2.       Please exit the church promptly.  Unfortunately, we cannot congregate in the gathering space and maintain the proper 6 feet of social distance.

3.       Please only exit through the main door where you entered.

4.       Upon leaving you are encouraged to sanitize your hands, and wash with soap and water when you return home.         

KEEPING OUR CHURCH CLEAN

1.       To the best of our ability we will maintain the cleanliness of our church.

2.       Between each service, volunteers will wipe down the pew tops, door handles, sinks and water fountains with disinfectant wipes.

3.       Upon leaving, we ask that you please assist us by not leaving any articles in the racks or pews.

     a.       Any items left in the pews will be discarded.

     b.       For the safety of our parish family, we cannot allow items to be placed in the “lost and found” box

4.       In order to reduce the rooms that must be cleaned, and to ensure the safest environment for all of our guests, all multi-stall bathrooms are closed.  Single stall bathrooms in the Elizabeth Ann Seton Room and in the foyer across from the chapel may be used.

5.       A volunteer signup is forthcoming if you are interested in helping.  Once the final details have been completed and we make it through our first set of Masses, we will promote a volunteer sign up through the parish-wide email. 

ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

1.       We are excited to announce that our Chapel will be open for Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the Monstrance. 

2.       Please follow marked seating locations on the pews.

3.       Only 10 people will be allowed to adore at one time.

4.       Masks must be worn at all times.

5.       Please use the provided sanitizing wipes to sanitize where you sat upon leaving.

6.       Please do not leave any shareable resources in the adoration chapel.

7.       With the chapel being available for prayer, the main sanctuary will not be available for private prayer to reduce the need to continually clean that large of a space.

8.       If you must open or close the curtain, please use hand sanitizer BEFORE and AFTER touching the curtain.

9.       If you change your prayer placement while in adoration (i.e. used the kneeler and moved to the pew, etc) please clean the used space before moving.

10.   The Chapel will be sanitized by a parish staff person a minimum of once per day.

  

Please call the parish office (616-866-0931) if you have any questions or to make your reservation for Mass.  Please visit the parish website for additional information and a “Welcome Back” video showing what to expect when you arrive at Mass.      



Thank you for reading the directives and guidelines.  We are so excited to have you coming home!

Please help us get the word out.

Forward this email to your friends and family at Our Lady of Consolation and encourage them to sign up for the parish-wide email today so they don’t miss any additional announcements.