Restoring Public Worship at St. Gertrude Church
Public worship will resume at St. Gertrude Church on Monday, 25 May, 2020.
Dear Friends in Christ,
I am looking forward to the imminent reopening of public Masses. It is joyful that for the last week of Easter, we will once again have a home for our parishioners in church. The measures taken against the pandemic have been a burden on us as a community made for the worship of God. We are meant to worship in person.
Before exuberance takes over, however, we must recognize the measures against the pandemic have been eased not eliminated. We must continue to look to the common good and use prudence in dealing with this serious matter of public health. Churches in other parts of the country have reopened only to become epicenters of new outbreaks of COVID-19. We want to make sure that we are careful about the level of risk we are taking on.
The archbishop has continued his dispensation from the regular Sunday obligation. Catholics should make liberal use of this dispensation if they are sick or are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. While there is a certain nobility in accepting death in order to worship God, putting others at risk is not an act of charity. Sickness has long been a reason to be excused from Sunday Mass. Please do not put the community at risk by coming to church if you have a cough, fever, or other symptoms of COVID-19 or have reason to believe you may have been exposed to the Coronavirus.
The Sacrifice of the Mass is the source and summit of our faith and the highest act of worship, but God is not constrained by the gifts he gives to his church. It is better to make an interior act of worship with a clear conscience, then to put others in harm’s way in order to make public worship.
You will see that there is a modified Mass schedule for the time being. Our usual Mass schedule does not allow significant time between Masses; we have spread out the Sunday Masses in order to allow time to clean high touch surfaces and to limit the amount of two-way traffic in and out of the Church.
We will not be blocking off sections of pews or requiring reservations for Mass. In order to maximize our use of space within the limitations, we are relying on your prudence and cooperation with the ushers. Households, people who spend the night under the same roof, can sit together without the need for spacing. Between each household there must be an empty pew in front and behind and a kneeler section right and left. This means that two couples might be able share a pew with a big space between them, while a large family might take a pew to themselves.
If space is not available, it may be necessary to go to another Mass. Remember that there is no obligation to come Mass for the time being.
Please wear a cloth mask to church, unless breathing difficulties or age prevents it. Reducing the potential for virus in the air serves us all. The priests cannot wear a mask for the celebration of Mass, but will dawn one to distribute communion. For the time being, there will be no lay ministers in the sanctuary.
The primary sense of Holy Communion is spiritual communion. Spiritual communion, the union with God given by Christ through the Sacrament is what we are striving for. Physical communion is meant to bring about spiritual communion.
Communion time is perhaps the most high risk part of the Mass because it involves being close to other people. If you have any reason not to take that risk or a worry that you might be putting others at risk, know that you can remain at your place during Communion time and still receive the graces of the Sacrament. The elevations after the consecration are meant as opportunities for spiritual communion, and I encourage everyone to make an act of spiritual communion at that time.
For obvious reasons, we will not be distributing the Precious Blood. Fear not, Communion under either species is a complete act of receiving the whole of Christ. We are also asking that you maintain distance from one another on the way up for communion. Since a number of people will likely not be receiving physical communion, please be attentive to when there is space to enter the aisle. If you need low gluten hosts, the priest will distribute those after Mass to avoid lengthen the time for Communion. Alert an usher to ensure the priest knows.
Cleaning and Ushering
There will be more work to do between Masses to get the space clean and ready, and help people navigate the social distancing norms. We will be circulating an online form for volunteers willing to help us between Masses with cleaning and ushering. Please consider helping in this way.
I am astounded by your level of generosity during this time of pandemic. I consider it a good sign of your support for St. Gertrude Parish and the desire to keep this a place of transformational prayer. I hope for your ongoing support.
To limit the amount of touch and close contact, the collection baskets will remain stationary throughout the church. I would also encourage you to consider making your contribution online at https://stgertrude.weshareonline.org/ or through a direct withdrawal you can set up by calling the business office (513) 561-5954.
I appreciate your support and patience through this public health crisis. We could not have done anything with your prayer and support. I know that you will continue to be prayerful, prudent, and patient as we face these next several weeks of transition together.
I hope that this time in the desert has been an occasion of prayer and hunger for the Eucharist for you all that will bear fruit in the weeks ahead and for your entire life. Please keep praying for all of those who cannot yet come back!
The Archbishop dispenses the faithful from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass. Please do not come if you feel sick. Those who are vulnerable may consider coming to a less crowded weekday Mass.
Health and Safety Measures
- Keep a prudent distance inside the church. Ushers will help ensure safe seating on Sundays.
- The pew in front of and behind your family should be empty. Keep at least one kneeler-length (about 1/3 of most pews) empty to the side.
- We ask that the faithful wear cloth masks for the sake of the common good. People with breathing difficulties and young children should not wear masks.
- Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrances of the church, along with baskets for collection envelopes.
- Only friars, novices, and some staff members will be in the sanctuary and sacristy. Lectors, acolytes, and extraordinary ministers will not serve for the time being.
- Volunteers will help wipe down high-touch surfaces between Sunday Masses.
- You are not obliged to receive Holy Communion at every Mass you attend. Consider making a spiritual communion, or receiving at a weekday Mass.
- The faithful who choose to receive Holy Communion will come up to the altar rail, where one or two priests will distribute the sacred host. Keep space in line, and only remove your mask at the rail.
- You may receive on the tongue or in the hand, kneeling or standing.
- Those who require a low-gluten host should inform an usher, and may receive at the rail after Mass. The church will keep a supply of such hosts.
Confession, Adoration, And Mass Intentions
- Confession will be available every day: see below for the schedule of times, or call the office to make an appointment.
- Confessions will continue to be at the office window. The priest will leave when no one remains in line.
- Adoration will be Wednesday from 12 to 5 pm & 7:30 to 9 pm. More times maybe added later.
- The friars will continue to fulfill all Mass intentions for every day. They will be announced in the bulletin rather than during Mass due to schedule shifts.
8:00 am Mass
9:30 am Morning prayer
10:00 am Conventual Mass
12:00 pm Mass
3:00 pm Confessions at office window
4:00 pm Confessions at office window
4:00 pm Dominican Rite Low Mass
5:00 pm Office of Readings and Evening Prayer
6:00 pm Mass
7:15 pm Compline
7:00 am Mass
8:00 am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
11:30 am Conventual Mass
12:00 pm Midday Prayer
4:00 pm Confessions at Office Window
5:00 pm Rosary and Evening Prayer
7:15 pm Compline
7:30 pm Confessions at Office Window
7:30 am Morning Prayer
8:00 am Conventual Mass
11:30 am Mass
12:00 pm Office of Readings And Midday Prayer
3:00 pm Confessions at Office Window
4:00 pm Confessions at Office Window
4:30 pm Mass (anticipated)
6:00 pm Rosary and Evening Prayer
8:00 pm Compline with Salve Procession
Join our friars and novices in praying the Divine Office and rosary throughout the week.
Our church is a refuge of prayer and contemplation in these troubled times: please maintain reverence and quiet, including before and after Mass. Conversations should take place outside.
The schedule above will change in the weeks ahead. Please check the website for updates.