Welcome home. It’s good to have you back worshiping in our sacred space at St. Vincent de Paul Church. It has been a challenging and difficult year. We must continue to support each other in prayer.
Bishop Kemme has asked us to follow the CDC guidelines and wearing masks. They are as follows:
“Risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection is minimal for fully vaccinated people. The risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from fully vaccinated people to unvaccinated people is also reduced. Therefore, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
Therefore if you’re fully vaccinated, you are welcome to remove your masks when you come to Saint Vincent’s, but we ask if you are not vaccinated yet, to wear a mask.
I am so proud of you and all the Catholics throughout our diocese. It has been a difficult time for everyone. I hope and pray that this challenge has made us stronger in our faith and the practice of charity.
Father Ken VanHaverbeke
May 20, 2021:
Welcome home! I look forward to seeing you as you return to the practice of coming to Saint Vincent de Paul to celebrate Mass in person! It has been a long and challenging year. I am so proud of how you have navigated your spiritual life at home during this time. We are blessed with technology, but worship together in person is so important to our faith life.
Bishop Kemme asks us to return to celebrating the Sunday Mass in person the weekend of June 5/6, 2021, Corpus Christi Sunday. He is asking us to maintain restrictions and guidelines so that we can be as safe as possible but has also relaxed some of the restrictions.
These restrictions/guidelines include:
- Hymnals can be returned – We will begin this the weekend of May 29/30.
- Seating capacity can be increased from 33% to 50% while ensuring people have an option for safe social distancing. To do this, we will remove most of the ‘every other’ row of seating practice and simply allow you to sit as families or in groups that you are comfortable with, socially distancing yourselves from other families/groups. Instead of taking up a whole row of seats, you might rather sit as a group (four in one row, three right behind them); our ushers will try to help you find a socially distanced area. Our seating capacity is 750, so we will limit it to 50%, 375 persons.
In addition, we will have a couple of sections where the social distancing is marked off, allowing you to find a safe place to sit without worrying about someone sitting too close to you.
We will keep an eye on the need for overflow and provide that if necessary in the Gathering Space, Social Space, and Ville.
- Liturgical ministries can be restored. We will slowly restore these ministries this summer and fall (offertory procession, servers, sacristans, etc.).
- Collection can be taken up by ushers. We will begin this in the next couple of weeks, as well as the children’s collection.
- Masks are strongly encouraged to be worn before, during, and after Mass, with the exception of receiving Holy Communion – I am very proud and impressed with the courtesy shown by the parishioners in this matter. What a great act of charity!
We will continue to provide hand sanitizer, masks, and disinfectant between Masses and create good ventilation and air circulation in the church. We will also continue to livestream our Masses. What a great tool for evangelization!
Finally, please remember Bishop Kemme wants to reassure that those who are sick have no obligation to attend Mass until they are well. Those who are not currently ill but at a higher risk of infection and who are not yet able or ready to return to Mass may request an individual dispensation from their pastor, which will be generously given.
Thank you for your patience and understanding through this challenging time. It is a great lesson in humility and charity. A lesson that will only make us stronger followers of Jesus Christ! Father Ken VanHaverbeke
Father Ken VanHaverbeke