Dear Parish Family,
On Wednesday, April 28 Archbishop Hartmayer announced his decision to remove the COVID-19 dispensation from attending Mass in person stating the following:
“You cannot bring the Eucharist to your flock virtually -- not the way Jesus intended. Now that vaccines are available to any Georgian older than 16, I believe it is time to begin to bring more people physically back to church. Pentecost is the birthday of the church and a time when we should let the Holy Spirit guide our path. It is an appropriate time to take our next step forward to full reopening of our churches. On May 22, prior to the celebration of the Vigil of Pentecost, the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will expire in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.”
Special instances where the dispensation remains in place and you are not obligated to attend Mass are as follows:
“1. You are ill or you have a health condition that would be significantly compromised if you were to contract a communicable illness (i.e., you have underlying conditions or are in a high-risk category). Please use the dispensation and do not attend Mass. 2. You are experiencing flu-like symptoms. 3. You have been exposed to someone who has tested positive or you have reason to think you might be asymptomatic of a contagious illness. 4. You care for the sick, homebound, or infirm. 5. You are pregnant. 6. You are 65 years of age or older (per the CDC’s recommendation of high-risk individuals). 7. You cannot attend Mass through no fault of your own (e.g., no Mass is offered, you are infirm, your ride did not show up, the church was at capacity). 8. You have significant fear or anxiety of becoming ill by being at Mass.”
In anticipation of the dispensation being lifted I have met with my Liturgy Committee on how best to serve our parish community – bringing more people back to church while retaining a safe and healthy environment.
Since we are still required to follow the CDC guidelines with regard to social distancing, we are unable to open more pews in the church at this time.
Therefore, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our parishioners to resume our pre-COVID Mass schedule.
Beginning the weekend of May 22/23 the In-Person Mass schedule will be as follows:
Saturday Vigil, 5pm
Sunday English Masses: 7:30am, 9am, 11:30am, 5:30pm
Sunday Indonesian Mass: 1:30pm, and
Sunday Spanish Mass: 3:30pm.
Sanitizing the Church/Entering and Leaving. Since this Mass schedule shortens the amount of time available to sanitize the church between Masses we ask that you leave the church immediately following the liturgy. We also ask the following:
If you attend the 7:30am Sunday Mass we ask that you please sit in the nave sections and not the transcept. This will enable us to sanitize prior to the 9am attendees arriving, and
If you attend the 9am Sunday Mass, please do not arrive prior to 8:45am to ensure time for the previous Mass attendees to leave and for us to properly sanitize the church.
Full Church. As you are aware, space in the church is limited due to social distancing protocols. When the church is full, the doors will be shut and no further entry allowed. Please be respectful of our Greeters and Ushers as they continue to serve during this difficult time.
Detailed protocols for attending Mass in person can still be found on our website at https://www.olachurch.org/in-person-mass. Important protocols to remember are that you MUST wear a mask at all times (even if you are vaccinated) and you MUST maintain the 6-foot social distancing.
Livestreamed Masses. The Daily Masses will continue to be livestreamed. The weekend Saturday 5pm Vigil and Sunday 9am Mass will be livestreamed.
We are in need of tech-savy individuals to train to livestream our daily and weekend Masses. This is ministry is vital in bringing the Mass to our homebound parishioners. I encourage you to attend the training on Saturday, May 1 at 12pm in the church. Contact Adrian Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Holy Water. Due to the complicated procedures in order to resume having Holy Water in our baptismal font we will not be filling it at this time. Instead, during the entrance procession at each Mass our clergy will perform the sprinkling rite. If you wish to have water blessed, please bring water to Mass and ask myself or one of my fellow Marists to bless it after the liturgy.
Hymnals/Worship Aids. English hymnals and Spanish Missals will be returned to the pews. We will no longer print worship aids.
Greeter/Usher Training. Each week we are short on Greeters and Ushers to serve the weekend Masses. The additional Mass will require even more volunteers. I encourage you to reach out to Adrian Stevens (email@example.com) about participating in this very important ministry. Join him for training on Saturday, May 1 (3:30pm) or Wednesday, May 5 (7:30pm) in the church.
Rosary Livestreaming. The Tuesday and Thursday rosary livestreams will be discontinued the week of May 23.
I look forward to seeing more of you in Mass in the coming weeks! It has been a difficult year, but I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. I want to thank all of you for your continued support of our parish.
Yours in Mary, Our Mother, Father Jim, Pastor