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May 4, 2020
Dear Parishioners of St. Joseph, St. Bridget, St. Patrick and St. Rose of Lima:
Greetings, I hope you and your family have been staying safe. As you may have heard, we have been given the green light to start celebrating public Masses again. Praise God!!! This past Sunday, Bishop Kemme sent out a letter and a couple other documents giving guidance on how parishes are to prepare and operate during this first phase of re-entry which can be found on the diocesan website at https://catholicdioceseofwichita.org/bishopletters/resuming-mass/
I encourage you to read them and our own particular “framework” for this time period of May 6 – 20th.
Mass times, locations and numbers:
- Starting this Wednesday, May 6, we will resume our normal weekday Mass schedule. These Masses will be held in the respective churches.
a. Monday & Friday: 8:00 AM @ Columbus
b. Tuesday: 5:00 PM @ Baxter Springs
c. Wednesday: 8:00 AM @ Galena
d. Thursday: 8:00 AM @ Scammon
- Given the restrictions that have been placed in this first phase of re-entry (the six-foot distance rule between families), we obviously cannot have nearly as many people in the churches for Sunday Masses. As a result, I have decided to celebrate three (3) Masses in the new parish hall in Scammon and one (1) Mass in Columbus. This location provides an opportunity for as many people as possible to attend. Starting this weekend, our weekend Mass schedule will be the following:
a. On Saturday, the vigil Masses will be the following:
i. 4:00 PM @ Scammon
ii. 6:00 PM @ Columbus
b. On Sunday, the Masses will be the following:
i. 8:30 AM @ Scammon
ii. 10:30 AM @ Scammon
- Please Note: the last Mass is at 10:30 AM
- Even though for the most part I kept the Weekend Mass Schedule, please feel free to go to Mass at any of these times.
- Following proper social distancing, Mass celebrated in Scammon’s new hall can roughly accommodate 90 spaces. There will be chairs in little clusters in each row. In addition, we can fit roughly another 50 spaces in the old hall for overflow. We are currently working on a system to watch the Mass via video in the old hall, if at all possible.
a. In Columbus, we can roughly accommodate 60 spaces. Though the configuration will look a bit odd, we can sit more people this way.
- Please keep in mind: once the church reaches new capacity for a particular Mass, it’s full. You are more than welcome to come back for another Mass, but we cannot exceed the capacity restrictions currently set forth by Bishop Kemme and Public Health Officials. I thank you in advance for your patience as we transition into yet another “new normal”.
- The weekday Confessions and the weekend Mass in Columbus will continue to be heard in the sacristy. Confessions will be heard:
a. when daily Mass is in the morning @ 7:40 AM – 7:50 AM
b. when daily Mass is in the evening@ 4:40 PM – 4:50 PM
c. in Columbus on the weekend @ 5:30 PM – 5:45 PM
- The weekend Masses in the Scammon parish hall, Confessions will be heard in the south classroom in the old hall. Confessions will be heard on:
a. Saturday @ 3:30 – 3:45 PM
b. Sunday@ 8:00 AM – 8:15 AM
c. Sunday @ 10:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Dispensation from Mass:
- As Bishop Kemme mentioned, the dispensation of the obligation to attend the Sunday celebration of the Mass continues for those who seek it in order to avoid the risk of infection of Covid-19. This dispensation will remain available until further notice.
a. With this in mind, we will continue to live-stream a Mass for those who are not able to attend Mass physically. This Mass will be live-streamed at
6:00 PM on Saturday Night in Columbus. This recording will stay on our YouTube channel for those who want to watch it Sunday and taken down before the following weekend.
- In addition, since the dispensation of the obligation to attend the Sunday celebration of the Mass continues until further notice, if you are concerned about attending one of the Sunday Masses (due to the number of people, your health, capacity restrictions, etc.) another option during this temporary phase of re-entry would be to attend one of the weekday Masses. That way, at the very least, you are still able to receive our Lord once a week in Holy Communion.
- If you are not able to go to Mass, please remember to keep the Lord’s Day holy by spending time in prayer, and or watching Mass.
Regarding going to Mass:
- Since we will need to get a count on how many people are in the building please use the properly marked door to enter the church / hall. When you enter, an usher will direct you where you need to sit. I know that it may not be your normal spot but, during this time, please be understanding and follow their directions. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated and will help things to run smooth.
a. In Columbus use the south (normal) entrance. Please do not enter through the side doors.
b. At the Scammon hall please use the north door going into the room that connects the two halls. Please do not go or let anyone in through the other doors.
c. For the Masses in Galena and Baxter Springs, use the main entrance door.
- In following the guidelines established by Bishop Kemme (and the Diocese), we will be removing the hymnals from the pews for the time being.
a. We have removed the missalettes and hymnals. They will be made present near the entrance of each church so that you may use them for Mass.
b. HOWEVER, once you have taken a missalette, IT’S NOW YOURS.
c. Please take it home with you and bring it with you on consecutive weekends. Please do not leave the missalettes in the pews / chairs.
- Hand sanitizer will be present in the churches, but due to limited resources, if you are able, please bring your own with you to Mass. It would be greatly appreciated!
- While not required, all are encouraged to wear masks during Mass.
- Proper social distancing (the “6-foot bubble”) must be practiced.
a. Please note: Members of a household do not need to utilize social distance among themselves.
i. In all the churches every other pew will be marked off to assist in proper distancing.
b. In addition, we MUST maintain proper distancing from left to right in the pews. This is especially important at the ends of the pews (nearest the aisles).
- For the collection at the weekend Masses, a collection basket will be placed at the back of the church / hall. Please drop your gifts of treasure into the basket as you enter Mass. Ushers will then place the collection in a tamper proof bag, as is our normal procedure. Your gift will go to your parish. Please use your envelopes so the counters can easily separate the collection between the four parishes.
- We will not be having an offertory procession during this first phase of re-entry. Thus, for those who need low-gluten hosts, please be sure to notify me prior to the beginning of Mass, so that I can have the appropriate number of hosts ready for consecration.
- For the receiving of Holy Communion:
a. I will be the only one distributing Holy Communion at this time.
b. For Sunday Mass in Scammon:
i. When it comes time for Holy Communion, I will bring Holy Communion to the front row where they are at.
ii. For those in the other rows, when I am finished giving Communion to the first row, by using the west side aisle (marked off by tape), come to the front and stand where an “X” is taped on the floor by the altar.
iii. These “X’s” will be the temporary “stations” where you will receive Holy Communion.
iv. I will distribute Holy Communion by moving left to right, instead of standing at one place.
- Once you have received Holy Communion, use the east aisle to go back to your seat.
- Once the last person leaves, the following row comes forward and repeats the process.
v. When I am finished giving Communion in the new hall, I will go to the old hall to give out Communion, if needed.
- The old hall is set up the same way and marked off with tape.
Sunday Mass for Columbus
i. In order to maximize the amount of people and keep proper distance, two chairs are in the side aisles for people to sit in for Mass. The only aisle to be used is in the middle.
ii. First, I will give Communion to anyone in the choir section.
- Coming in front of the altar, there will be X’s taped on the floor. The first person goes as far down as they can and stands on the X. The next person comes and so forth.
- I will start from the last person and once they have received are to go back to their place. When they are finished, the next row comes forward.
- Once, the choir area is finished, the people sitting on the west side of the Church, one pew at a time come forward and stands on the X. Like before, I will start with the last person and work going forward. Once the last person receives Communion the next row will come forward.
- Once the west side is done, the east side will do the same process.
- Sung music should only be offered by Mass cantors and the priest. Singing by persons in in attendance at Mass is discouraged to limit the possibility of the oral transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
a. When Mass is in the Scammon parish hall, please use the two restrooms in the old hall. Limiting one person in the restroom at a time.
- Following the final blessing please remain seated and the ushers will direct you to exit the church/hall so we can maintain proper social distancing between families. We do not want everyone to exit at one time as we leave Mass.
- Between Masses chairs and other objects will be wiped down. Know that the parish councils may be reaching out asking you to help usher and clean. Thank you for your much needed help to make celebrating Mass possible again.
Know that some of these things may change over time. Although we are happy to start celebrating Mass again, know that it may be a little trying at first with all these guidelines. Be patient, they are for all our safety. May God continue to bless you and I hope to see you soon. Please continue to keep one another in prayer.
In Christ through Mary and Joseph,
Fr. Jeremy Huser
115 West Walnut
Columbus, KS 66725