May 14, 2020
I am pleased to be writing this letter, because it is a sign that we are getting closer to coming together as the Body of Christ to celebrate the Eucharist. We will begin the weekend of May 30th and 31st with our three Masses at regular times. There are strict guidelines from the diocese that we are to follow, as well as state regulations. An agreement between Wisconsin bishops and the governor’s office says we can have at most 25% occupancy, but with social distancing directives being followed. This means we can accommodate 56 family units of one or more people. Our goal is to get us back together as quickly as possible, while being safe and adhering to directives.
What we are doing: teams will be prepared to make sure things go smoothly and to sanitize necessary surfaces after each Mass. Because of social distancing, we will use every third pew and hospitality ministers will seat you according to the number in your party. There will be a onetime use worship aid, which you will be asked to dispose of as you leave church. There will be only one Eucharistic minister distributing communion and the host will be placed in your hand.
What you need to do:
1. You MUST sign up for Mass each week by calling the office (414) 453-3875. This needs to be done between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm, Monday through Thursday starting on May 26th. You will be asked how many people will be coming with you. When all the spots are filled, no one else can physically attend the Mass. If your preferred Mass is full, perhaps there will be space in another. We will continue to post the weekend Mass on our website and Facebook until all parishioners can attend in person.
2. It is obligatory to wear a mask while you are in church. Please bring your own small bottle of hand sanitizer, if you have one. We will have some sanitizer and a few masks available.
3. Please remember to sanitize your hands as you enter the church.
4. As you enter, you will be given a worship aid and there will be a box for you to deposit your financial support. No collection will be taken up.
5. Please cooperate with the person who will tell you where to sit (certain spaces are reserved for families, for couples, and for singles).
6. Obviously, all these measures will take time, so please plan to arrive 10 or 15 minutes early, and observe social distancing as you wait to enter the church.
7. Finally, food pantries are only accepting cash donations at this time, so please don’t bring any food or clothing with you to church.
Hopefully, with these measures, we can safely begin to worship together as a community.
It is important to remember that the bishop has lifted the obligation to attend Mass through July 5th, so please don’t come back until you feel comfortable. The diocesan guidelines strongly encourage those who are more vulnerable (over 60, underlying health issues, compromised immune system) and those who are anxious about being in a larger group to stay home.
I look forward to the day when all can return safely. Meanwhile, please keep reaching out to those who are isolated.
If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail me.
Paul James Portland, SDS
Thank you for your prayers for the Leadership Team, as we continue to plan for public Masses. Within the next week, you will receive a letter from me, detailing what we are doing for your safety and what you will need to do to attend Mass. The bulk mailing will go out today. Please watch for it. Plans are for Masses to start May 30/31. We will continue to post the weekend Masses on the website and Facebook until everyone can come back to church with no restrictions. The Leadership Team will meet Monday morning to continue its planning.
Please remember Fr. Patric and his mother in your prayers. His mother’s health has deteriorated to the point where she is going into hospice care.
“Gee, Thanks, Mom” Mother’s quote of the day:
“Me: Mom, you’re invading my personal space.
Mom: Well, you came out of my personal space, so that makes us even!”
I often urge you to take quiet time so that the Spirit can speak to you. I had a wonderful experience of that yesterday morning. I was being quiet, trying to stay in the presence of the Lord (mind wandering all over, as usual), and sipping my second cup of coffee, when the perfect point to make in the homily for Pentecost popped into my mind. Pentecost wasn’t even on my radar, but the most difficult aspect of preparation is over: I have a clear point I want to make! I believe the Spirit whispered that to me, but I had to show up and be quiet to hear. See what I mean? We have to give the Spirit a chance!
Please say an extra prayer for the Leadership Team, which meets this morning to continue discerning plans for our return to celebrating the Eucharist together. Thank you.
“Gee, Thanks, Mom” Mother’s quote of the day:
“I’m leaving for the weekend, so I hid $100 in your room for food. Clean your room and you will find it.”
Thank you for your prayers for the Leadership Team. We had a productive meeting yesterday and are moving forward with plans for Masses the weekend of May 30th/31st.
We have selected three coordinators, one for each Mass time: Joanna Clementi for 5:00 pm, John Pandl for 8:00 am and Pastoral Council Chair Chris Graham for 10:30 am. Their task will be to make sure everything runs smoothly as we adjust to social distancing, etc.
The Leadership Team members are writing drafts of procedures, communications, etc., that will be reviewed at a meeting tomorrow. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
“Gee, Thanks, Mom”: Mother’s quote of the day:
“On my wedding day, my mom told my bride, ‘No refunds, no exchanges on sale items.’”
I hope our mothers had a good day yesterday, despite the restrictions.
This morning the Leadership Team will continue its planning for reopening on May 30/31. Please keep us in your prayers.
“Gee, Thanks, Mom” Mother’s quote of the day:
“Be nice to your brother. You might need one of his kidneys some day.”
Happy Saturday (in case you lost track of what day it is). I hope this finds you well.
Please continue to pray for the team planning our eventual reopening. Our next meeting is Monday morning. Meanwhile, team members are working on proposals for details on entering/exiting, seating, communion, etc.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. In your honor, I will reprint “Gee, Thanks Mom” from Reader’s Digest, over the next week. These are famous sayings from mothers. The first is this:
“I told my mom I expected a boyfriend and a new car for my birthday. She said, ‘A Ken doll and a Hot Wheels. Got it.’”
Next one will come on Monday. Meanwhile, Happy Mother’s Day.
Please remember that copies of “Give Us This Day”, a daily reflection guide, are available in front of the church.
Our bulletin for this weekend is available at this link. Please notice the article “Love One Another During This Crisis” from our Justice and Peace Commission. I thank them for their untiring efforts to help us live the Gospel message of showing love through service, especially to those most vulnerable.
The Parish Leadership Team met yesterday to continue preparation for our first Mass together, which will be May 30th, if regulations allow groups of sufficient size and we are ready. “Point persons” were chosen for the following areas:
Kathy Wellenstein: liturgy and liturgical ministries
Chris Graham: logistical details at Masses
Dean Weyer: church sanitization
Paul Portland: communications
Each is preparing a draft, based on diocesan directives and our discussions, of what needs to be done in their area. All of this will be reviewed at a meeting on Monday. I am working with Terese Neureuther, our staff communication person, on a letter to be mailed to all parishioners that will explain what we are doing to keep you safe and what you need to do before you come to Mass. Please keep these efforts in prayer.
May God bless each one of you.
I repeat from last Thursday: as I have talked with parishioners on the phone, I have heard that many miss the opportunity to worship together. Thanks to Kathy Wellenstein, our music and liturgy minister who adapted some resources she received, we are offering an opportunity to “pray together in place” each Thursday evening at 7:00 pm, while the quarantine lasts. Join us tonight at 7:00 pm for the third installment of our “A New Birth to a Living Hope” prayer series, which you will find on our homepage.
It is important to remember during this time of separation that we are always united as members of the Body of Christ, especially when we pray. My Salvatorian community and I will be participating from 937 N. 37th Street. I hope you can join in as we present our united prayers, from wherever we might be, to God, our Savior.
The Leadership Team meets this morning to continue discussion of preparations for when we can celebrate together again. Please keep our efforts in your prayers.
I hope this finds you well.
The Leadership Team met yesterday for an hour and a half, discussing preparations for when we can gather to celebrate Mass. It is complicated, because we don’t know what the restrictions will be, specifically how many people will be able to come together at one time. We have begun to identify what needs to be done (e.g. get a core of volunteers for each Mass, get necessary safety and cleaning supplies, plan where people can sit…….). One of the most important things will be good communication to parishioners. When the time comes, we will have online communication, as well as a mailing to those who do not use the internet. We will meet tomorrow morning to continue our discussions. Please keep us in prayer, that the Holy Spirit may guide us to the best way to bring us together in a safe way.
Please remember to keep reaching out to those who are isolated. You are all in my prayers.
Thank you to those who have sent kind words about this past Sunday’s Mass on our website. You can find it there all week.
This morning our parish Leadership Team will meet to begin digesting the “directives, suggestions, and considerations” that have come from the diocese to prepare for public Masses. In case you have forgotten, I set up the Leadership Team a couple years ago after the diocese hosted the “Amazing Parish Conference.” This group normally meets once a week to help me in my leadership role. I like this model because it is very similar to how we work in religious life: superiors at every level have councils to help them in their leadership role. Our Leadership Team consists of Sr. Mary Lee Grady SDS (parishioner), Ron Skelton (parishioner and Trustee), Kathy Wellenstein (parishioner and Director of Liturgy/Music), and Dean Weyer (Director of Operations and Finance). During the quarantine, Chris Graham (parishioner and Pastoral Council Chair) has been meeting with us. Please keep us in prayer that we may make decisions that keep people safe, as we come back together to worship.
Keep busy, stay safe, and God bless.
Joke for the day:
(From Reader's Digest)
Something to do in quarantine:
Order a book from Ikea