Faith Enrichment

Daily Eucharistic Adoration Information

COVID Mass Update: Monday, May 28, 2020

Dear Members of the Saint Henry Cluster Family,

I hope all are well. Many thanks for the numerous ways members of our local communities are supporting and caring for each other. This certainly makes us more aware than ever how much we need each other. I also want to thank all the members of the community, and families who found prudent and safe ways to honor our graduates and the entire class of 2020…

Once again, Saint Henry and Saint Bernard Churches were selected because of their size and their ability to accommodate a large congregation while maintaining social distancing guidelines established by the State of Ohio. Saint Henry also has the ability to live-stream their masses.

In order to maintain social distancing and other state guidelines, the number permitted to attend each mass will be no more than 250.   In order to accomplish these goals, parishioners will be asked to sit in every other row. Families or couples can cluster together and do not have to obey the social distancing guidelines, but all others should do so.

All attending mass are asked to enter through the same church doors.  If weather permits, the doors will be propped open with no need to touch the door handles when entering or exiting.

The Holy Water fonts will continue to be empty, in following recommendations from the state and the CDC, and all the books normally in the pews have been removed as well. Worship aids will be available and the Bulletin will continue to print the Sunday Scripture Readings. Parishioners should take the bulletin and worship aid home with them as they depart mass.

The ushers will be available to assist people to find a place to be seated. However, the departure will be a little more organized.

Similar to weddings, the community will be dismissed row by row with the assistance of the ushers. Socializing after mass as is our cherished custom that should take place outside where social distancing can easily be achieved.

Wearing masks during the liturgy is highly recommended. I understand this may be uncomfortable for some but remember we wear the mask to protect others and this is a concrete sign of our commitment to the common good.

The Liturgy itself will be simplified to minimize any risk to health. We have been asked by the Archbishop to complete mass in 40 minutes. There will be no processional or recessional. There will be no offertory procession or collection gathered by the ushers. People’s contribution envelopes should be placed in the boxes found at each door when they enter or depart.

There will be no shaking of hands at the sign of peace and no holding hands at the Our Father.

Communion under the form of bread (host) will be distributed by the celebrant and Eucharistic ministers. They will do so by making their way through the congregation by way of the empty pews between the people. Communion under the form of wine is prohibited during this pandemic.

The only way to receive communion and respect the entire community is to receive in the hand. It is very important that each communicant receive the host on their hands for health reasons.  Receiving in the hand is no less respectful than receiving on the tongue as some would suggest. Receiving on the tongue inevitably leads to the minister’s fingers getting wet with saliva. If this happens the ministers are instructed to go immediately to the sacristy and wash their hands before continuing to distribute communion.  The communion distributed at each mass will be consecrated at that mass.

One last instruction. The last thing a person should do before leaving home for mass is to wash your hands. There will be hand sanitizers at each door of the church for those who would wish to do so as they arrive at the church. Washing your hands before leaving home would make the process take place more quickly.

One last important recommendation. According to the state guidelines people over the age of 65 with chronic health issues should stay home and watch the mass on live streaming or TV. People of any age with chronic health issues that compromise their immune system should stay home as well. With this in mind, the Bishops of Ohio and the entire nation encourage that anyone who feels, in any way, uncomfortable or unsure about attending mass at this time should stay home.  The bishops of Ohio have given a dispensation from Sunday obligation and it will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Health and safety are our first concern, and God’s first desire for us. This difficult time will pass into a new normal.  Hopefully we will come away from this journey, more patient, compassionate, and with a greater respect for our Catholic family and the sacraments we share. Let us continue to pray for one another.

– Fr. Bill