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