May 28, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

In preparation of our movement into the Green Phase of Pennsylvania’s Reopening Plan, we want to share with you our plans for welcoming you back to public Masses.  This process will be slow and deliberate, ensuring the health and safety of all involved.  Please read this entire letter so that you can sign up to attend Mass; either on website or by telephone. 

According to our State’s reopening plan, in the Yellow Phase, we will be limited to 25% of the capacity for each church.  This will make the return to Masses quite challenging for all… you the parishioners, as well as my staff and I who will have to coordinate these efforts.  Please be patient and kind as we work through all the details.  Please remember that everything is fluid, and rules and guidelines will continue to change.

We will begin by reintroducing public weekday Masses on Monday June 8, 2020.

Our initial public Mass schedule will be as follows:

Mondays at 7pm at Gate of Heaven

Tuesdays at 7pm at Our Lady of Victory

Wednesdays at 9am at Gate of Heaven

Fridays at 9 am at Our Lady of Victory

This will be a gradual process in which we start by providing weekday masses, so that we are able to work on successfully establishing the procedures necessary for managing the limited attendance and the subsequent cleaning that must follow each Mass.   

We will continue to live-stream Sunday Masses following our posted schedule, we don’t expect to stop this in the near future.  Bishop Bambera continues to extend the dispensation of the obligation for Catholics to attend Sunday Mass.    Please follow the CDC guidelines: if you are in an ‘at-risk’ category, we encourage you to stay home and join us online.

Confession will available Saturdays, beginning June 13th from 2:00 – 3:30pm, at Gate of Heaven on the odd months; and Our Lady of Victory on the even months.  We will have drive-up confessions.  Please follow the signs and directions.  During inclement weather, indoor confessions at Gate of Heaven will use the GOH school lobby and you will enter through the old school entrance. For Our Lady of Victory, we will use the OLV auditorium and you will use the kitchen door entrance in the back of the church.  Masks will be worn by the priest and the penitent.  Even though this sacrament will now be available, the faithful are encouraged to follow the directives of the Holy See regarding perfect contrition, if they cannot make it to confession.

We will still be offering private prayer times.   Eucharistic Adoration will now be provided during some of these prayer times.  The gathering should not exceed 25% of the capacity of the church at any one time.  We will continue to sanitize each of the pews as they are used.  Masks must be worn and social distancing of six feet must be maintained (except for those living within the same household).

The private prayer times are:

GOH:

Monday and Thursday: Noon – 2pm
Tuesday:  5 – 7 pm (Eucharistic Adoration)
Sunday: Noon – 2 pm (Eucharistic Adoration)

OLV:

Wednesday: 5 – 7 pm (Eucharistic Adoration)
Friday: Noon – 2 pm
Sunday: Noon – 2 pm (Eucharistic Adoration).

 

Guidelines, procedures and critical insights for attending Mass.

Attending public Mass might be a little different now. You will enter through one door and exit through a different one.   Seating in pews will be marked, spaced appropriately to allow proper social distancing.  There will be no hymnals or missalettes (you may bring your own material and prayer books).   Holy Communion will be distributed after the conclusion of Mass.  There will be markings on the aisle floors for proper spacing while in line for Holy Communion.  You will exit directly after receiving.  There will be no social gatherings in the parking lot or on any church property.

Bring your own hand sanitizer for your personal use.  Do not bring items that contain bleach into the church as this will damage the pews.

Upon submitting your reservation, you will be issued a written confirmation either by email or USPS.  Please bring this with you when attending Mass.  A list of the attendees will be at the door and your confirmation will provide proof that you are at the correct Mass.  Your confirmation will prevent any upsetting discussions that may arise.  The doors will be open 15 minutes before Mass begins.  Please have your mask on when you arrive and before entering the church.  Social distancing must be observed outside as well – please do not form a line outside the door.   Once entering the church, you will be seated by an usher. If you would like to light a vigil candle a volunteer will be available in the church before Mass to assist you.  The volunteer will light the candle for you.  We ask that you place your monetary donation in an envelope and hand it to them.

Households may sign-up and sit together; this will be only the immediate family (parents and children: some exceptions when assisting the handicapped).  Social distancing will be required between the households not within the households.   No physical contact for the sign of peace, except between members of households.

Please use hand sanitizers immediately before you receive communion.  Please wear your mask up until the moment you receive communion, and then of course put it back on.  You may receive communion in the hand or on the tongue; but it is strongly advised to receive communion in the hand in keeping with the guidance of the health professionals.

Gate of Heaven Instructions:

  • Park in the big lot near Spring Street
  • Those who are handicapped should park is in the lot near the old school entrance in the back.
  • The entrance for Mass will be the old school entrance
  • Everyone will exit through the front doors of the church on Machell Ave, except those who are handicapped who will leave through the old school doors near their cars.

Our Lady of Victory Instructions:

  • Please enter through the front door. You will exit through the stained glass door on the side of the church after communion.
  • Those who are handicapped will enter and exit through the stained glass door on the side of the church or the back kitchen door.

Donations and weekly envelopes may be put in a basket at an identified location at the end of Mass.

We will continue to implement cleanliness and sanitation practices, including disinfecting the pews and high-use areas after every Mass.    For sanitation purposes, we strongly discourage the use of the restrooms.  Your cooperation is this matter is appreciated and please only use them if it is unavoidable.

Making Your Mass Reservation:

You may submit your reservation on this website at the end of this form.  You can also call one of the churches.  Leaving a voicemail does not constitute a reservation for a Mass.

We will begin the registration on Monday June 1, 2020.  We will create a joint list of parishioners who want to attend Mass.   A joint list will allow us to ensure that we have an even distribution of parishioners from each church attend Mass every week.  As a pastor, I am aware that many of you attend Mass at both churches.  A joint list allows this option to still exist for you, and will allow us to effectively use the benefits of the large seating space at Gate of Heaven.

Confirmation: We will notify you with a confirmation, so that it will be very clear what Mass you may attend.  You will receive a confirmation in either of two ways:  1) through email;  or 2) a telephone call along with a note sent in the mail.   As we manage reservations, we will be sensitive to trying to provide a space for representatives of the family for whom a Mass intention is offered.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to provide everyone the opportunity to experience the Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion.

Now you can submit you registration below, or call our churches.

Mass Reservation Form

  • For the health and safety of all who attend the Mass, please provide the following answers: