Response to Corona Virus

To the Parishioners of the Church of the Transfiguration

May 15, 2020

After a long hiatus, we are once again able to gather for public worship, with some limitations and modifications. With this letter, I hope to explain succinctly how we will proceed, and I trust we will have your cooperation to make sure everything goes smoothly and safely. We will all have to make many sacrifices and adjustments. Hopefully most of these will be temporary!

 

Parking Lot

First of all, to make matters even more complicated, we will be repaving our parking lot beginning Tuesday, May 26th . For about a month, parking is limited to the front “school” lot near the Duns Scotus Room and the larger parking lot directly across Code Road. Everything else (near the handicap entrance, the ballfield, and the bell tower) will be under construction.

 

Mass Obligation

· The obligation to attend mass has been suspended through Sunday, September 6.

· The obligation to attend begins again on Sunday September 13.

· All other non-liturgical parish events are still suspended.

· Those who are above age 65 with compromised health, or those caring for the sick are encouraged to stay home. Anyone who is ill should surely stay home!

 

Mass Schedule - Public masses will begin here Friday, May 29, with the 12:00 Noon mass.

We are not resuming the regular Sunday schedule at this time; we are assuming a smaller congregation since some people, due to age or infirmity and the removal of the obligation, will be remaining at home and joining us online. As we see how attendance is working out, we may adjust the schedule. We will discern a permanent schedule during the summer.

Beginning May 30/31 masses will be Saturday, 4:30 PM, and Sunday, 8:30 AM, and 11:00 AM

· Weekday masses (Monday – Friday) will be at 12:00 Noon.

· All weekday masses and the 11:00 AM Sunday mass will continue to be livestreamed on our Facebook page.

· Until May 29, we will continue to livestream an 8:00 AM mass Monday - Friday, and a 10:00 AM mass on Sunday.

You will see in messages from the Archdiocese that masses can resume on May 19, but will resume on May 29. We have chosen May 29 for a number of reasons. With the stay at home order until May 28, our offices are closed and staff is at home until that time. This also gives us time to get our procedures in place, time to procure cleaning supplies, and sufficient time to communicate. Also, the parking lot repaving will have begun on May 26, so waiting until May 29 to begin masses will avoid unnecessary confusion.

Limitations on the size of gatherings

For the time being, we are limited to 25% of the seating capacity of the space for any mass.

For us that means:

  • 75 people may gather in Church on weekdays and weekends
  • 50 people may gather in the hall on weekend masses

(That is a total of 125 people at each weekend mass)

This will be a challenge to manage, but again we trust in your cooperation.

We are asking for those who wish to attend to do one of the following:

Email your interest, 24 hours in advance, to [email protected]

- or -

Call the office 248 356-8787

Please specify the day and time of mass you wish to attend, as well as number of people. We will respond as soon as possible to let you know if there is sufficient room.

Please understand that we may not have room at the mass you wish to attend.  We need to give everyone an opportunity to participate, so some may not be able to attend every day.  If we find that we have misjudged interest, we will adjust the schedule or space to accommodate.  It is important that people arrive on time. Late comers may not be able to be seated.

Cleaning

It will be necessary for the church and hall to be cleaned and sanitized after each mass. We are purchasing equipment to make that possible and convenient.

We would welcome the support of a few people after each mass to help with this! You may volunteer to Paula Hillman (248 885-5582, [email protected]). It will be helpful to know beforehand, and not at the last minute.

We will be removing all missalettes and hymnals from the church. Disposable worship aids will be provided as needed. You are welcome to bring your own missalette (e.g. Magnificat, Daily Bread, or Living with Christ), or use your phone for the readings.

Once we begin the regular schedule, the church will be cleaned each morning, and thus will open at 11:30 AM (9:30 AM on Tuesdays).

Social Distancing

· You are asked not to congregate in the gathering space before or after mass.

· Please do not to sit in the gathering space during mass, except for medical reasons.

· Hand sanitizer will be available as you enter. (If you have your own, that will help our limited supply last!)

· All present (except the presider) will need to wear masks. Please bring your own. The church will have a very limited number for those who forget.

· The floor and pews will be marked with tape to guide the necessary distancing.

· You will not be able to be seated anywhere you like or in your usual place. Available pews will be marked. (Some pews will remain empty.)

· On weekends, we ask you to follow the guidance of the ushers.

· When the hall is being used on weekends for mass, we ask that you do not move the chairs from their place.

· You should not hold hands during the Our Father, or touch others during the Sign of Peace.

Mass procedures

  • Music and singing at mass will be adjusted. (Singing adds more droplets to the air.)
  • For the time being, we will not need servers.
  • The need for Eucharistic Ministers will be limited.
  • Only the reader will process in with the presider. We will have only one reader.
  • All liturgical ministers are asked to volunteer through the parish office.
  • There will be no collection taken up. You will be welcome to place your offering in the box by the baptismal font or to continue to mail it in or contribute online.
  • There will be no offertory procession.

Communion

  • There will be two ministers distributing the consecrated host in Church and two in the hall on weekends.
  • In church, come forward by the center aisle in one line (not two); return by the side aisle.
  • Remove any masks or gloves to receive communion.
  • The Presider and Eucharistic Minister will wear a mask to distribute communion, taking care not to touch the communicant. If there is an accidental touch, they will use sanitizer before giving communion to the next person.
  • Because of the risk, you are strongly encouraged to receive communion in the hand. If that is not possible for you, we ask that those receiving on the tongue wait until the end to reduce the possibility of passing on saliva after an accidental touch of the tongue.

Dismissal

  • The presider will not be able to greet you in the gathering space after mass, other than a wave from some distance.
  • Please do not congregate in the gathering space after mass, but go directly to your vehicle.
  • In order to avoid a large crowd of people, on weekends, the ushers will direct the dismissal. Since we have four sections in our church, a section at a time will be dismissed separately, beginning with the back section of the church. We ask you to be conscious of the need for 6 feet between you and another as you depart.

Funerals, Baptisms, Weddings

These celebrations may continue under the same limitations and guidelines stated here. We are recommending that infant Baptisms be celebrated outside of Mass due to extra guests and other social distancing requirements.

Confessions/St. Anthony Devotions

  • Following the requirements of social distancing, Confessions will resume on Saturday, May 30, 12:00 noon, and on Tuesday, June 2, 10:30 AM.
  • St. Anthony Devotions will resume on Tuesdays after the noon mass, however it will not be possible to have individual touching of the relic.

Conclusion

We understand that none of these are comfortable. Our worship will probably not feel the same and will demand much adjustment from all of us. I am confident that we will have your cooperation, because we want our worship to go smoothly and for all of us to be safe. If we find that any of these procedures need adjustment as we put them into practice, we will make those modifications and will try to inform everyone as best as we can. We will probably learn as we go!

May God bless us as we move forward in these coming months! Thank you for your cooperation.