Dear Fellow Parishioner of All Hallows,
As you may have heard, Bishop Robert McElroy has given the churches in the Diocese of San Diego, the “green light” to begin our public celebration of the Eucharist on the weekend of June 13th and 14th (The Feast of Corpus Christi – The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ) – a beautifully symbolic and joyful feast to bring together anew our Eucharistic community. This means that our first Public celebration of the Mass will be on Saturday evening, June 13th, at 5:30 p.m. The two Sunday celebrations on June 14th will be at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. (PLEASE NOTE the TIME CHANGE to allow for the cleaning of the worship space.)
Before I outline THE CHANGES you can expect when you arrive for Mass, let me reiterate the fact that Bishop McElroy has DISPENSED ALL CATHOLICS IN THE DIOCESE OF SAN DIEGO FROM THE OBLIGATION TO ATTEND SUNDAY MASS FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. Quote: “All of us must urge sick or especially vulnerable members of our community (because of age or compromised immune systems) to refrain from coming to Mass, not only for their sakes but for the sake and safety of the worshiping community.” For those sheltering at home, I INTEND TO CONTINUE MY DAILY E-BLASTS OF THE LITURGY OF THE WORD, at least until the middle of July. There are also a number of ONLINE Masses broadcast both locally and throughout the country.
Leaving home for church
Please make certain that you and the members of your family are not sick. Anyone with a temperature of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or other symptoms such as a persistent cough or sore throat should remain at home.
Please make sure that you and the other members of your household have facial coverings (FACE MASKS) and that you put them on before exiting your vehicle to come into church. The masks must be worn throughout Mass and remain on until you enter your vehicle to depart. (This does not apply to children under two years of age.)
When you arrive at the church, please be aware of the 6 FEET SOCIAL DISTANCING between yourself, your family and others.
If you are taking the ELEVATOR down from the upper or middle parking lot, remember that social distancing allows for either a single household or two unrelated passengers at a time (standing 6 feet apart). Once you have arrived on the ground floor, proceed immediately to the main entrance of the church (again observing the 6 feet social distancing rule). If you encounter friends along the way, acknowledge them, by all means, with a nod or wave, but DO NOT STOP TO CHAT!
The double sets of doors that mark the main entrance to the church will be open so you will not have to touch the handles. Freestanding sanitizing dispensers will flank the entrance. Please sanitize your hands before entering the church. (All the auxiliary entrances to the church will be locked, but all have “panic hardware” in case of an emergency.) One of our parish nurses will be on hand to take your temperature if you so desire.
Once inside the church, proceed to an empty pew and take your seat. The pews have been marked with tape at 6-foot intervals. There is a limit of three people per pew who are not part of the same household. Social distancing has drastically reduced the seating capacity of our church. Under normal circumstances All Hallows can seat about 430 persons. Social distancing reduces this number to 86 persons, choir loft included. (Every other pew is now blocked off.) This new maximum capacity for the church will be reexamined, and hopefully expanded, after a 21-day trial period. However, capacity is the reason why it is so important for households to sit together and for all of our parishioners to TRY TO ARRIVE AT LEAST 15 MINUTES EARLY!
Gone are the days (at least temporarily) of “Your pew.”
The church floor will be marked to help you keep 6 feet from the person in front of and behind you.
Once in pew, you will notice that there are no longer any hymnals or worship aids. This is because studies show that saliva droplets are broadcast much further when singing than when speaking. For the time being, our cantor will be our voice raised to God in praise, and he or she will be standing more than 6 feet from the closest parishioner.
- When the congregation has assembled, the cantor will sing one verse of a gathering hymn.
- This is followed by the usual, ritual greetings.
- Bishop McElroy has given permission to administer General Absolution for the first couple of weeks so that all can partake in the Eucharistic Feast. This means that all of us will begin our celebration with a “clean slate.” The normal church requirement of an “auricular confession” for a particularly grievous sin will be explained, and can be fulfilled at a later date.
- No Gloria
- Collect Prayer (done at the chair – Sacramentary will rest on a portable stand to free up the celebrant’s hands to assume the Orans Position. (This will eliminate the need for a server while we are observing social distancing.)
- One Reading will be proclaimed by the Lector (whichever of the usual two is deemed more germane to the Gospel and homily).
- Cantor will sing the refrain, one verse, and then the refrain of the Responsorial Psalm
- Alleluia is sung by the Cantor
- Gospel is proclaimed followed by a short homily
- No Offertory Procession and no collection at this time, although there will be a locked box for your weekly envelopes or monetary donations close to the front doors of the church. This is an ideal time to consider “no hands, electronic giving!”
- Celebrant will set the altar with his chalice and paten and ciboria with the hosts to be consecrated for the congregation. This will ensure proper social distancing in the Sanctuary. These ciboria will be set on the far corner of the altar.
- The Celebrant, alone, will receive the consecrated bread and wine at the usual time.
- After a short time for private prayer, the Celebrant will pray the final prayer, bless the congregation, as usual, and dismiss everyone with this or a similar statement: “Go in peace to receive the Body of Jesus Christ as your food for the journey.”
- The Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist (two or three) will then receive the Body of Christ and proceed with the Celebrant to the two tables outside the front doors of the church. They will face the Congregation as it exits the church for communion, beginning with the pews closest to the front doors and working back towards the sanctuary. Thereafter, the seats on the sides of the church, and finally those in the choir loft (please observe the “one way” signs).
- Please observe the 6 feet social distancing while leaving the church. (The hand sanitizers by the front doors will be available as you leave.) As you approach the Minister for Communion, bow as you normally would and extend your hands having made a throne for the Body of Christ. When the Minister says, “The Body of Christ,” respond “Amen.” Take the consecrated host in your hand, step to the side, lift your mask, reverently consume the Eucharist, lower your mask, and proceed to your vehicle. PLEASE DO NOT STOP TO VISIT WITH FRIENDS, until the need for social distancing is dispensed!
- If a member of your household is ill or infirmed, our Bishop has given permission for any member of the household to bring Holy Communion to that person. We will have pyx available to transport the consecrated host.
- The bulletin, if one has been printed, will be located on the portable kiosk next to the stairs leading to the parking lot.
Because the seating in the church has been so drastically reduced, and we have no clue as to how many of our people might attend these first liturgies, I beg your patience and understanding. Possible solutions are to use the hall for overflow with the Mass live-streamed from the church.Unfortunately, with social distancing, we only gain another 51 seats!
During the summer months, we are changing the time of the weekday Mass from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Please be aware that an 8:00 a.m. weekday Mass will likely have much lighter attendance.
If there is an initial groundswell of attendance during the first couple weeks of re-opening the church, we will consider adding a 12:00 Noon Mass on Sunday. We will keep you informed of this possibility on our Parish website (www.allhallows.com) and by e-blast.
These are unprecedented, but exciting times. Please keep your parish in your prayers. I will most certainly keep you in mine!