The Reopening of Saint Columba Church

EFFECTIVE the weekend of May 30 – 31, 2020:

OBLIGATION TO ATTEND – Remember that Sunday Mass is not obligatory until further notice.

ELDERLY OR HEALTH ISSUES – Because you might be more susceptible to COVID-19, it is suggested that you continue to watch Mass at home on television or YouTube, instead of attending Mass in person at St. Columba Church.

MASS TIMES – The regular times of Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

MASKS OR FACE COVERINGS are to be worn while on the property.

ENTRANCES – All entrances will be open with doors propped open for ventilation.

HAND SANITIZERS are located at each entrance. Hands must be sanitized upon entering church.

SEATING – Since we will have social distancing, you will not be able to have your favorite pew at this time. Only certain pews will be available in order that six feet may separate one from another. Of course, families may sit together. Every third pew will be open so that there will be the required distancing.

HYMNALS/MISSALETTES/WORSHIP AIDES/HOLY WATER FONTS have been removed from the church for your protection.

HOLY COMMUNION will be distributed at the end of Mass. The priest will remove his chasuble, wash his hands, put on a face mask and distribute Holy Communion. Those receiving Holy Communion will come up the center aisle with your face masks on, leaving six feet behind the person in front of you. Remove your mask as you approach the priest to receive Holy Communion. Once you have received Holy Communion, you are invited to return to your pew to make a reverent thanksgiving; then exit the church. On Sunday at 12:00 noon, I will distribute Holy Communion to those who were unable to attend Mass. Please come into the church through the door closest to the Rectory.

MINISTERS – During this time, there will be no altar servers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, or choir.

LITURGY – There will be no singing for the congregation, but a cantor will be used.

SOCIAL GATHERING – We are accustomed to socializing after Mass. During this time, however, we should avoid socializing in the church and cafeteria. Be aware, even outside, to use social distancing

YOUTUBE MASSES on Sunday from St. Columba Church will continue for those who are staying home. However, we will not record/post weekday Masses.

OFFERING FOR THE CHURCH – There will no passing of the baskets at the normal time. Please place your offering in the baskets as you leave church after Mass.

PALM – Blessed palm will be located at the doors. Please take some home when you exit after Mass.

WEEKDAY MASSES will begin on June 1 and will be celebrated at the regular times; i.e., Monday through Friday at 7:30 a.m. and Saturday at 8:00 a.m. Please be seated in the two center sections, using social distancing.

SACRAMENT OF PENANCE will begin again on Saturday, May 30. For the first week, the times will be as follows: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. After the first week, we will return to the regular hours; i.e., Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Until further notice, confessions will be heard in the cafeteria, thus providing more ventilation and social distancing. Masks or facial covering should be used. You will be seated six feet behind the priest for an anonymous confession or six feet in front of him for face to face confession. Remain in the church outside the cafeteria until the person in front of you has exited the other door of the cafeteria.

VISITS – The church will be available for people to visit and pray during the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

VOLUNTEERS will be needed to help sanitize the church. If you can assist, please call the office. The church will be sanitized after each Mass.

PARISH OFFICE HOURS will be Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

BE PATIENT, BE FLEXIBLE as we reopen our parish church. There may be changes that have to be made as we continue in this process.

PRAY to God the Father, through Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit that we may be protected as we take this next step.

– Monsignor Robert Lawrence

Diocese of Harrisburg Announces Guidelines for Parishes in ‘Yellow’ Zone Counties

As counties transition from “red” to “yellow,” the Diocese of Harrisburg has provided new guidelines for parishes in these “yellow” zones. These guidelines were developed after reviewing the directives from the Governor’s Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as studies provided through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Diocese will review and amend these directives as this situation continues to develop. =

The full guidelines for parishes in “yellow” counties are available on the Diocesan Website. These new guidelines take effect the weekend of May 30-31 for the parishes within Columbia County as they transition from red to yellow, including St. Columba Church.

A one-week delay is advised to give parishes the necessary time to implement these guidelines and to provide time for parishes to communicate these changes to parishioners. While these are general guidelines provided by the Diocese, individual pastors may choose to continue some restrictions if the health and safety of their parishioners are still in question. Bishop Gainer also asks parishioners not to cross counties when churches begin to reopen, in order to ensure parishioners have primary access to their own parish churches and to respect the government’s stay-at-home order.

Highlights of these guidelines include:
• The dispensation from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass is still in place. All Mass livestreams are to continue.
• Public Masses may resume at the Pastor’s discretion, so long as social distancing and proper sanitation is observed. Sanitation must take place after every Mass. Parish buildings may contain no more than 1/3 occupancy at any given time. Please contact your parish directly for more information on any changes to Mass schedules. Public Masses may also take place in church halls, outdoors and in church parking lots.
• All parishioners attending Mass must wear a face mask. Masks may only be removed when receiving Holy Communion.
• Holy Communion will be distributed after Mass. We recommend that Holy Communion be received on the hand.
• Confessions may resume at the Pastor’s discretion, pending social distancing and proper sanitation are followed. Creative means of confessions, including using outdoor spaces, are encouraged.
• Weddings, funerals, and baptisms may resume, so long as occupancy and all protective measures are followed.
• Adoration chapels may be opened with limited hours, occupancy and strict sanitation after each visitor.
• Parishes are to use tape or rope to indicate proper social distancing within the parish buildings, including the pews.
• Proper sanitation will occur after every gathering and at the close of every day.
• Holy Water fonts will remain empty. Bottled holy water may be available for parishioners to take home.
• All hymnals, missals, missalettes, and Bibles will be removed. Printed worship aids may be provided for all public Liturgies. These worship aids will be disposed by the user when leaving the church. Projection devices may also be used.
• The Sign of Peace will continue to be omitted.
• Limited public entrances may be opened.

A change for parishioners will be the distribution of Holy Communion after Mass.
This will ensure proper social distancing, sanitary conditions and leaves space for those not comfortable receiving Holy Communion at this time. Below are the procedures parishes are asked to follow:
• After the priest’s reception of Holy Communion (and that of the other clergy present), the priest places the vessel with the consecrated hosts for distribution into the tabernacle. Mass then continues and is concluded.
• After the Dismissal or after the final hymn, a small table with hand sanitizer is set up at the location for distribution of Holy Communion.
• The assembly forms a line to receiving Holy Communion, keeping six feet apart.
• The priest will begin the distribution of Holy Communion with, “Behold, the Lamb of God . . .” The people make the response, “Lord, I am not worthy.”
• Each communicant approaches to receive Holy Communion, lowering their mask when they are next to receive. We recommend that Holy Communion be received on the hand.
• The priest (or whoever is distributing), should purify and sanitize his hands as often as he thinks is necessary. This is not necessary after each person. It is necessary if contact has been suspected or if a communicant requests it.

Following the directives of our state government, those who are sick, or those who have health conditions that make them more susceptible to illness (or germs and viruses), should continue to remain at home at this time.