It has been very exciting to see so many people returning to Mass!
The North Transept will no longer be designated for social distancing and mandatory mask wearing at the 4:00 PM Saturday, and the 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, and 12:00 PM Sunday Masses. We will continue to designate the North Transept for social distancing and mandatory mask wearing at the 6:00 PM Saturday and 5:00 PM Sunday Masses– and all weekday Masses. As always, everyone is encouraged to follow relevant health guidelines regarding wearing of masks at all of the masses and other public events here at Saint Paul.
Encouragement to Get Vaccinated: Following the encouragement of Bishop Brennan to the entire diocese, I strongly encourage those who can be vaccinated to get vaccinated for the sake of the common good. With that said, I have no intention to have a “vaccination requirement” attached to any activity here at Saint Paul Church. And, I respect the decision of those who for matters of conscience (whether that be due to ethical concerns related to the production of the vaccine and/or concerns about the safety of the vaccine) choose not to get vaccinated.
Obligation to Attend Mass: The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation resumed the weekend of June 5-6 for Catholics in the State of Ohio. I encourage you to read the Bishop’s Letter.
Mass Times: We have no immediate plans to change our regular Mass schedule. We celebrate Mass at 8:30 AM Mass Monday through Saturday; a 6:40 AM Mass on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and on Tuesdays and Thursdays we also have a 6:15 PM Mass. Our weekend Mass schedule includes: Saturday Vigil Masses that are celebrated at 4:00 and 6:0 PM; Sunday Masses at 8:00 and 10:00 AM, 12 Noon and 5:00 PM. Our 4:00 PM Vigil Mass, and 10:00 AM Sunday Masses are livestreamed on Facebook and on YouTube.
Location of Mass: We will discontinue using the Klinger Center for Mass for the 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM Mass times. We will evaluate the necessity of the 10:00 AM Mass in the Klinger Center over the next couple of weeks.
Confessions: Confessions will remain in the lower level for the foreseeable future in order to allow the penitent the opportunity to go to confession in a socially distanced environment.
Various Changes to the Elements of the Mass: We will return to two lectors at Mass as our scheduling system permits and altar servers will begin to resume their normal pre-COVID duties. The offertory collection will continue to make use of collection baskets placed where the plastic bowls were previously. We will continue to suspend the passing of the basket for the time being. The offertory procession and bringing up the gifts will return when the collection returns to the Mass. (Many have opted to give electronically via WeShare. To do so, text stpaulohio to the number 800-950-9952 to arrange a weekly, monthly or one-time donation or go to https://stpaulcatholicchurch.weshareonline.org/.) Furthermore, we will no longer be cleaning after every Mass with volunteer parishioner labor and will continue the regular cleaning of the Church by our maintenance department. The Choir plans on returning in the fall. We will continue to publish the readings and hymns in the bulletin through the summer and will evaluate bringing back the hymnals in the fall.
Children’s Liturgy of the Word: We have no plans to return the Children’s Liturgy of the Word. While the custom has a long history here, I am not comfortable having the parish assume “care and custody” of young children without a system of paperwork, permissions, emergency contacts, etc. I will be working with the staff to encourage an environment at all of the parish masses where parishioners with young children feel comfortable and welcome to bring their families to Mass. We will also be exploring ways to equip parents to confidently bring their children to Mass and to help our children participate in a more meaningful manner. It is my desire that families with children attend Mass together and stay together throughout the entire Mass. It is also my desire that families with children are made to feel welcome by all parishioners. We are called to be a child-friendly and family-friendly parish.