Coming Back to Public Liturgies

Lathrop, CA, July 1, 2020

Lathrop, Ca., July 1st, 2020

Dear Parish Community,

I hope you are enjoying of both physical and spiritual wellbeing as you receive this letter.

Is with great joy that I announce to you that we are getting ready to gather once again in public liturgical assembly by July 12. However, before we are able to do so, I invite you to consider the safety of every member of our community, and this letter will offer the restrictions and measures that we all will follow throughout the length of this health contingency. I thank you in advance for the attention that you may kindly lend to it.

First of all, I ask you to warmly embrace 4 important elements that help reduce the risk of a possible infection:

  1. Before all else, social distance is the first line of defense against an infection of COVID-19.
  2. The second important element that helps to protect others is to cover mouth and nose.
  3. Thirdly, as authorities recommend, to limit the time of gathering to 45 minutes also may reduce the risk of infection.
  4. Finally, avoiding touching your face, eyes, nose, mouth, and ears without washing your hands with soap, helps to prevent SARS-CoV2 entering your system.

With these elements in mind and as an expression of our charity toward others, it is imperative that each parishioner adhered to the following directives:

  1. To keep the appropriate distance between the participants in our liturgical celebrations, we have reduced the occupancy of our place of worship. Therefore, in order to attend, if you so wish, you must call the office (209 858-4466) to let us know your desire to come. We will ask you about the general state of your health and that of your companions. Only one person per household can call.
  2. As you arrive to the parish, each family must register their attendance; your temperature will be taken, we will offer you hand sanitizer, and an usher will show you your place.
  3. Greeting, from a distance, to other members attending the celebration is acceptable and recommended.
  4. It is obligatory the use of a covering over mouth and nose during the whole length of our public liturgies; they will take place on Sundays at 10am in English, and 12pm in Spanish.
  5. For the distribution of Holy Communion, there will be marks on the floor to wait for each one’s turn. We will do it in this way: All the faithful will walk towards the side wall and then to the front to the stations prepared for the distribution of the Body of Christ; after receiving Communion, each one will return to their seats through the center aisle. All people present will walk in the same fashion even if one is not participating.
  6. The protocol for receiving the Body of Christ is this: Communion will be given only on the hand, without exceptions. Regardless of what media outlets have been erroneously asserting, receiving the Body of Christ on the hand does not constitute, in the Catholic Church, a fault, neither means disrespect nor lack of reverence to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. And even though receiving in the tongue is optional, under these circumstances, charity demands that we all receive communion on the hand. Each communicant will stand in front of the Eucharistic minister, uncover the mouth, extend the hands, and the minister will give the Body of Christ; the communicant will consume him immediately, cover back the mouth and return to his/her seat.
  7. Consider that, unfortunately, the restrooms will be shut until this contingency has passed.
  8. After the dismissal, we will leave the place orderly, observing social distance. Instead of coming back through the main entrance, the two small doors will be used as exits. This is the procedure: families sitting next to the choir area will go out first, using the door next to the restrooms, and next, those sitting at the side of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe beginning in the back. Families sitting at the side of the sacristy will take their leave through the door next to it beginning in the front. We will vacate our place of worship calmly and neatly pew by pew.
  9. The dispensation of our responsibility of attending Mass is still in place, therefore, I invite you to evaluate the risk of infection implied in our gatherings, because, even though we are following these strict safety measures, the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 is real and those who experience the mildest symptoms of any illness must stay at home. If you still wish to come, consider your ability to comply with these practices. If you are unable or unwilling for whatever reason, we invite you to keep following us in our live stream Eucharistic Celebrations.

I thank enormously your understanding and cooperation in these challenging times and I hope to see you soon. Peace and all good,

P. Salvador Ledesma