Greetings and I wish you all a happy Pentecost! May the Spirit of God bless you and fill your heart with peace and joy. I write this letter to share with you a few items for your information and consideration as we continue to make preparations for reopening our church for the public celebration of the Eucharist on Monday, June 8.
The Sunday Mass resumes on June 14. As I mentioned in my earlier letters, I decided to keep our regular weekend Mass schedule, and in order to provide opportunity for more people to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist, I decided to add another Mass at 9:30 am. Please note, as of now the County permits only 100 people per Mass. I believe on or near June 15, the County might increase the limit to 25% of occupancy, in which case we can accommodate little over 150 people. Obviously, all cannot expect to come to church on the weekend; weekday Masses will be just as critical for us as weekend Masses. For this reason, for the week of June 8-14, I am asking all who wish to come to Mass to plan on coming to just one Mass that week to allow for the maximum number of people to return to Mass and receive the Eucharist.
Keep in mind, Bishop McElroy continues to dispense all from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and other holy days of obligation. If you are ill or highly susceptible to illness due to age or a pre-existing medical condition, please stay home, joining the community in prayer through liturgies streamed on the Internet or broadcast on television.
To help everyone with planning, we will be using a no-cost reservation service provided by Eventbrite. We used it earlier for our golf tournament. It is easy to operate. Through this online service, parishioners can select a Sunday Mass they wish to attend, and print their reservation form. Printed reservation form will be needed to gain entrance to the church. The Eventbrite reservation system for Santa Sophia will open on Mon, June 8. I request you to use the north side of the church doors (by kiosk and nursery) to enter and exit the church. There will be ushers at both doors and in the church to assist you with seating and answer any questions. I thank Deacon Mike Moore for coordinating our ushers and helpers. If a parishioner wants to help at Mass, you may write to Deacon Mike Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org
To receive notifications regarding Eventbrite reservations, you will need to subscribe to our new communication tool called Flocknote. Any-one – parishioner and non-parishioner alike – may sub-scribe to our communications through Flocknote. You are subscribed if you have received a message or two from us already. If you are not yet subscribed, please go to our parish website: www.santasophia.org and sign-up as soon as possible, using the link found on the homepage. I encourage all parishioners to sign up for Flocknote as that will be our means of communication.
If anyone does not have or use the Internet or those that need help, may come to the parish office during regular office hours starting June 8 to see either PJ, our office assistant or Bob Ulrich, our business manager and request reservations for particular Masses. Please note reservations will not be taken over the phone, by mail or text messages.
More information about what you can expect when you come to Mass as well as specific details about what we are doing to make Santa Sophia a safe place to worship will be posted on our parish website on Friday, June 5. Please take the time to read the information before coming to Mass. The new guidelines might look inconvenient and overwhelming, but I urge you to comply. The guidelines are standard and common in every parish.
A note regarding special sacramental and other celebrations: Funeral Masses may be scheduled after June 14. First Communions, Confirmations, Baptisms, and RCIA sacraments will take place in smaller groups and be scheduled after June 21. Confessions will be on Wednesdays in the children’s chapel at 5:00 pm or by appointment. At this time, communion to the sick is limited to someone from the same household attending Mass. If communion is needed for a sick family member, I request you to come with a pyx and talk to Rosemary before or after Mass.
I look forward to seeing you again at church to celebrate together the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus in and through the gift of the Eucharist. It has been too long! Until then, let us continue to hold one another in prayer.
Pastor, Santa Sophia