Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It has come to our attention that some people are relaxing the observance of the protocols that we have been given to observe, as we reopen our churches. I want to use this column this weekend to once again underscore the rules that we have on several occasions announced and published in the bulletin and on the website.
NYS and Church Laws: There are two sets of rules: (1) Those that govern all residents of New York State, given by the Governor, Andrew Cuomo. (2) Those that govern only Catholics, given by the Bishop of the Rockville Centre Diocese, Most Reverend John Barres. They complement each other; not contradictory.
Obey the Laws: The rules have been made for our safety and wellbeing. It is essential that we comply with these rules while in public places, including the church. Our strict observance of the protocols would show our vigilance for our own safety and that of others. We are each other’s keeper.
Face Covering: Please, Remember to Wear Your Mask or any face covering! Ensure that both your mouth and nose are covered. The Diocese has directed that if anyone has difficulty breathing, that person must stay at home and watch the Mass online or on TV (the Catholic Faith Network). The dispensation from the obligation of Sunday Masses and Holy Days of Obligation is still in effect.
Social Distancing: Please be reminded that all social distancing protocols remain in effect. Please maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others both when seated in the church and while entering and exiting. Your charity, cooperation and understanding are appreciated.
Arrival & Entry: Please follow the direction of the ushers and enter the church through the Bell Tower Doors (except for those who need to use the handicap door). Please sanitize your hands upon entry and exit. There are hand sanitizing dispensers near every major door.
Holy Water: Holy Water fonts remain empty. However, the Holy Water dispenser in the chapel area of the church contains Holy Water for those wishing to bring Holy Water to their homes. Please, do not attempt to use it to sign yourself in the church.
Holy Communion: Holy Communion will continue to be distributed at the conclusion of Mass. If you are not receiving communion, you may leave the church quietly after the blessing and dismissal. Those receiving should approach row by row, while maintaining social distancing with the person in front. Please note the best way to receive communion: Keep your mask on when you approach the priest or minister to receive. Respond “Amen,” when the minister says, “The Body of Christ.” Receive Communion in one hand, step aside, lower your mask, consume the host, and put the mask back on. It is preferred that Communion at this time be received in one’s hand. Please place your hand out very straight and flat to allow the priest or minister to place the Eucharist safely in your hand in order to avoid contact with your hand.
Those who still wish to receive on the tongue are asked, out of charity, to come at the end of the line. When they come forward, they are to open their mouth and extend their tongue so the host can be placed on it without the priest or minister’s hand making contact with the recipient.
Whether receiving or not, please leave quietly and reverently through the door to which you are directed by the ushers. Thank you for your consideration and cooperation regarding these guidelines.