July 4, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is a great joy to be able to open the Church for prayer and for the celebration of the Sacraments! Now that we have three weeks’ experience of Sunday Mass and Daily Mass, I find it prudent that we restore our liturgical schedule as it pertains to weekday and Sunday Masses.
We must still remain vigilant to take proper safety precautions that include face coverings, hand sanitizer, spatial distancing and the cleaning and sanitizing of the church. In many parts of the nation, the positive tests for Covid-19 are once more on the rise. While we may become weary of staying home, and weary of all the safety precautions, we must remember Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves and continue to provide for our safety and that of others.
There is one PERMANENT change in the Mass schedule. For the sake of consistency, the 7:15 am Sunday Mass will be moved to 7:30. In this way, the early Mass on Sunday will be consistent with the weekday Masses. For Holy Days and special weekday feasts, the early Mass will still be 7:00 am to accommodate people on their way to work and school.
Starting July 11th-12th – Our SUNDAY MASS Schedule will be: Saturday 4:30pm, Sunday 7:30 & 11:00am. Since we are still in the fourth phase of pandemic regulations, the capacity for each Mass is 75 and thus we will still require reservations. Through July and Early August, the 9:00 Mass will be reserved and used for First Communions and for Adults who are receiving the rites of Christian Initiation only. On August 9 – the 9:00 Mass will then be returned to our weekend Mass schedule.
Reservations for Sunday Mass --- Online reservations are preferred….by going to www.mbvmchurch.org and signing up. You may also call our reservation line at 815-933-8285, ext. 114. There will be someone to answer this line in person on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from Noon- 2:00 pm. Otherwise, please leave a message.
Starting July 13 – Our WEEKDAY MASS Schedule will be: Monday – Friday 7:30 am. Reservations are not required for WEEKDAY Mass, as generally 75 people will not be in attendance. Though we are not requiring reservations for weekday Masses, we must still know who is attending our Masses for the purposes of contact tracing. Therefore, we will be checking names at the door and maintaining a database. If your name is not on the list, we will ask for your name, phone number, and e-mail (if you have one.) Once you have given us your name, we will add it to the list. In this way, daily Mass attendees do not have to make daily reservations.
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – This year it is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation as the Feast falls on a Saturday. However, there will still be a Mass at 9:00 am on Saturday, August 15 to celebrate this Solemn Feast.
Prayer in the Church – Unfortunately, as long as we must clean and sanitize the church, we cannot leave the door unlocked for private prayer. We will continue with the Wednesday evening prayer from 7:00 – 8:00 pm. You do not have to make reservations for prayer in church, but similar to weekday Mass, must check in at the door.
Confessions – For now, confessions are available by appointment only. Please contact Fr. Dan or Fr. Jason directly to make an appointment. If you do not feel comfortable coming in for confession, please offer a sincere prayer for forgiveness…. name those sins before God and make a heartfelt Act of Contrition. As soon as you are ready, come back to church for a sacramental confession.
Fr. Dan – 815-933-8285, ext. 113 --- [email protected]
Fr. Jason – 815-933-8285, ext. 111 – [email protected]
LASTLY ---- We NEED VOLUNTEERS on our hospitality teams. AS we have increased our offering for Masses, we need people to help with check in, seating, responding to peoples’ needs, and sanitizing the church afterwards. It usually takes 10 minutes or less to clean up afterwards. In all, the commitment is not intensive, and it provides an essential service to the Church. In order to protect those most susceptible to the effects of this virus, we must ask that these volunteers be 18-65 years of age. High school students may volunteer along with their parents. To volunteer, please contact Rhonda Smith, our volunteer coordinator at [email protected] for more information. You may also call our reservation line 815-933-8285, ext. 114. The training process is simple, you just need to watch one YouTube video and you are ready.
In these summer months, I hope that you are able to remain cool or at least remain safe as the temperatures continue to soar. It brings me hope that we may begin to restore our Mass schedule and open our buildings. However, we must remain vigilant and do our part so that these forward moving phases do not have to be retracted. We have been through a journey that has at times been painful. We were not able to gather to celebrate Holy Week and Easter in person. We have had to pray with the sick and dying over the phone. Families have had to wait many weeks to honor their deceased loved ones with a funeral liturgy. Let us each do our part, so that we may continue to open our doors for prayer and the celebration of the Sacraments.
May God bless you and keep you safe in these summer months!!
Adored and Loved be Jesus,