Welcome Back! It’s so good to know that everyone will be back in church this weekend. I know it’s still not completely “back to normal”, but I’m so excited to be able to have people back in church and get back to something that resembles normal!
Moving forward, there will be a few things that are different. I know they may take a little getting used to, but whatever it takes, it’s good to be back. As we’re supposed to avoid common areas that everyone is touching, we have removed the hymnals and we’ll be placing the bulletins and a song-sheet on each of the pews. We have every other pew blocked off into spaces, so we’re asking that only one household sit per space.
We will not take up the gifts, and instead of our normal offertory process, there will be a secure bin at the entrance to the Church/Chapel for the envelopes. Please place your envelopes there on your way in/out.
Everyone over the age of 12 is encouraged to wear a mask unless you have a medical reason that prevents you. Remember, the mask is not just for you, but to make sure someone who didn’t even know they had it doesn’t spread it.
However, aside from those few changes, I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get everyone into Church this weekend, and we can celebrate the sacraments together again. I also want to congratulate Chase Valeria, son of Brad & Heather Valeria who was baptized this Saturday Morning! Congratulations Chase and welcome to our Church!
Now that we’re back, First Communion and Confirmation are being scheduled for our respective 2nd and 11th grade students. For this year only, confirmation will be held here at our parish. I know for some we’re anxious to be back in Church. For others, it feels like it’s too soon, and the risks seem very real. I hope we can all recognize that we’re all coming from different points of view, and work to be considerate of each other. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to stream the mass online. For instructions, just go to www.popnc.net. That’s been a real blessing up until now, and I’d like to maintain it for those who are unable to join us here in Church.
As much as I’d like to continue the confessions before mass that we had before, Bishop has asked not to use the confessionals as there isn’t much ventilation. I’ve been setting up in the front entranceway and it works very well all week long. However, it doesn’t work prior to Sunday Masses. With that in mind, we’ll continue our revised confession times. I haven’t gotten anyone in the evenings for a while, so watch for those times to possibly change in the near future.
I mentioned in last week’s bulletin that I’m going to start looking for Eucharistic Ministers to visit the sick. It’s looking like I’ll be returning to the prison soon, when I do return, I won’t be permitted to visit our shut-ins for communion for a while. If you’re a confirmed Catholic and would be interested in visiting the sick, particularly your own family who can’t get out, give us a call at the office and I can set up a time to train you to go. It’s a ministry we haven’t had here, but a good one I’d like to see happen.
God bless you now and always,
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.