This memo was sent out to all Parishioners of St. Charles through email or mail this weekend to inform our Parishioners of the upcoming progress for “Phase 2”.
June 3, 2020
As you know we are anticipating Governor Murphy’s partial relaxation of social restrictions put in place in response to the Coronavirus pandemic (aka “Phase 2”). After consultation with the Parish Staff and Pastoral and Finance Councils; considering the unanimous responses to the virtual “town hall” meeting held last Wednesday; and given that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass remains in effect, weekend Masses will remain closed to the general public for the foreseeable future. We will continue to live-stream Masses at 4:30 PM Saturday and 9:00 AM Sunday. However, Holy Communion will be made available to the faithful afterwards, beginning the weekend of June 13-14, the Feast of Corpus Christi (the Body and Blood of Jesus).
Even though it was the unanimous choice of those who responded to the “town hall” meeting, Bishop Sullivan will not permit “drive-through” Communion distribution, as he feels it is beneath the dignity of the Sacrament. We are permitted, however, to offer Holy Communion in Sienna Hall, which we feel would be safer and easier to manage than opening the Church for this purpose.
Since we are still under social distancing requirements, however, strict protocols must be observed at all times in both the parking lot and hall. These include:
· the wearing of a face mask/covering (no exceptions)
· social distancing (6 feet or more separation from non-cohabitants)
· using hand sanitizer when entering the hall
· Communion in the hand (for the safety of our Eucharistic Ministers & fellow communicants until normal worship practices resume)
· leaving the hall immediately after receiving Communion (the Prayer Garden is available for personal prayer/thanksgiving; social distancing must be strictly observed)
· using the front doors of the Religious Education Building for entrance only; the side doors near the front of the hall for exit only
· the Men’s and Ladies’ rooms will be closed for general use
· baskets near both exits for contributions to the parish, House of Charity campaign, etc.
· no gatherings in the parking lot, hall or Prayer Garden at any time
Please note that the reception of Holy Communion is not mandatory. If you still feel it isn’t safe to come out you are under no obligation. Those exhibiting any sign of illness (fever, cough, etc.) are asked to please stay home.
For those who wish to avail themselves of the Sacrament, Communion distribution will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of Mass. There will be 4 stations. An Usher will direct Communicants to a station. Couples and families may proceed to the same station if desired but must line up in single file.
When receiving Holy Communion, please cup your hands so the minister can respectfully drop the host into them without touching you. Then step aside, lower your mask, consume the host, reposition your mask, and leave using the exit closest to your line. Distribution will continue for no longer than 1 hour and may end earlier, depending on circumstances.
Weekday Mass (Monday-Friday) will also continue to be live-streamed. However, we will expand the number of persons permitted to attend to 10 (including priest and sacristan) beginning Monday, June 15. Everyone who attends will need to maintain social distance from others at all times and bring a sanitary wipe to sanitize their area as they come forward for Holy Communion. Distribution of Communion will take place after the Final Blessing & Dismissal. Once Communion is received, each person must leave the Church immediately. The Prayer Garden or Emmaus Chapel may be used for personal reflection/thanksgiving, but social distancing requirements must be observed. Communion will not be made available after weekday Masses.
Sign-up sheets to attend a weekday Mass will continue to be posted at the entrance to the Tracy Center. To enable as many who would like to attend as possible, please do not sign up for more than 1 Mass/week. Depending on response, this may be relaxed to twice or more/week at a later time.
Everyone’s cooperation with these directions will ensure a smooth transition to this next phase in social restriction. I know I can count on all the people of this magnanimous parish community to embrace the spirit in which these directions have been created. If you have a question or need, please do not hesitate to reach out by calling the Parish Office at 856-629-0411, or email me at .
Thank you so much for your understanding, patience, and generosity in these extraordinary times, and always!
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Michael J. Matveenko