New Liturgical Ministry Guidelines

As with all the liturgical ministries, please keep in mind your own health and the health of others. The obligation to be at Mass on the weekend has been lifted by Archbishop Vigneron through September 6, 2020. We would love to have you back involved in this important ministry, but please make sure that your health situation or that of others you live with will not be compromised. In addition, if you have any symptoms of illness of any kind, please do not come to church. In light of such concerns, the guidelines for your ministry have been adapted.

All are required to enter the church with a face covering, which must remain in place for the entirety of Mass (until you exit the building).

USHERS AND GREETERS TO COMBINE FORCES

shers to greet and greeters to usher to get everything done in a timely way. Arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the start of Mass. The church space is now configured for proper distancing. 

WE WILL BE USING ONLY EVERY OTHER PEW 

Some pews have been marked for seats near the aisle, some for seats in the middle of the pew. Familiarize yourself with the layout of your section(s) before Mass so that we can properly seat people.

WE NEED USHERS AND GREETERS ON HAND EARLY 

Greet everyone who enters the church. Distribute a music-aid/hymnal/Sunday’s Word. Escort people to a proper pew. 

Face Coverings are Required to Enter (GLOVES ARE OPTIONAL) 

Face coverings must be worn as you enter the church building. Face coverings must be worn throughout your ministry in the building. Disposable gloves may be worn while performing pre-Mass and post-Mass responsibilities. The parish will provide gloves at the information desk. Properly remove gloves and place in trash container when pre-Mass responsibilities are completed. If choosing to use gloves, use a separate pair for pre/post-Mass duties. Communion cannot be received if the hand is gloved. 

PRE-MASS RESPONSIBILITIES

Make sure doors from Gathering space into the church are propped open. These doors will remain open for the entire Mass to allow for touchless entering/exiting. If a child is taken out of church, gently guide them toward the chapel for noise reasons. The two sets of doors into the gathering space need to be unlocked with the inner set propped open and the outer set closed, except when someone approaches. A minister can be at the door using the handicap button to open the door so as few as possible touch the handles. The automatic doors have a button that can be turned up so that they remain open. Use that for any of the inner doors during/before Mass and for the outer doors just before the end of Mass for ease of leaving. A staff member can show you that button. 

Monitoring RESTROOM TRAFFIC

For the time being, except in case of emergency, one person at-a-time will be allowed in each restroom. This will have to be monitored during Mass by at least one person. 

SUNDAY’S WORD BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST 

Due to health concerns people must keep the copy they receive (even if they already have one at home), we will not be collecting them. Encourage them to keep it in their car for the next time they attend Mass. Remind them any books left in the church will be discarded after Mass. We do not want the books returned to racks of sanitized Sunday’s Word. 

MINISTERS WITHIN THE CHURCH PROPER 

A minimum of two pairs of ministers need to be available within the church proper. One pair at the Lincoln door entrance. One pair near the baptismal font as people enter the church. Ideally a third usher in the group by the baptismal font, since they will have to seat the whole south side of the church as well as the two central sections. Seating will take time to do; it will especially take time for people who just want to slide into their pew no matter how it is marked. 

We will be working on this over time, so be patient. For this to work we will need the teams of ministers to coordinate with each other before people begin to arrive. 

RECEIVING GUESTS INTO THE CHURCH 

We ask that every person and family entering the church space be greeted, given a face covering if needed (available in the upper sacristy and at the information desk in the gathering space). Hand out a worship aid (and Sunday’s Word if requested). The minister then directs the family toward another minister in the aisle who will seat them in a pew that best reflects the size of the group. People who are alone or couples, if the church needs to maximize its seating capacity, will need to sit toward the front where most of the “two-people per pew” spaces are marked out. “Threes” have the most options available both at ends of pews (back half of church) and middle of pews (front half of church). Groups of “Fours” have only a few options for the ends of a pew but several in each section for the middle of pews. “Fives” and “Sixes” have a couple of options in each section, in the middle of the pews toward the back. Greeters/ushers need to be active and attentive in seating people. We are encouraging people to first fill the front more than the back of the church and the central and adjacent sections rather than the far sections. We will already be artificially spaced between people, and it will be very difficult to have any sense of community if everyone is seated far back in the church or only in the outer sections.

PRESENTATION OF THE GIFTS HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FOR NOW 

When each money collector is finished, proceed to the table at the back of the church. For security reasons, please consult your email procedural details. No basket with money will be brought up to the front by the altar. 

DISTRIBUTION OF COMMUNION 

Two of the ushers/greeters are needed to facilitate the distancing regulations. There are 6’ tape markings on the aisle floor to aid this effort. Step backward and release the pews on one side and then the other, alternating. Only one usher/greeter in the mid-aisles will be used at a given time. Watch where the Communion ministers stand and release those sections first.  

AFTER MASS

Some of the ushers/greeters need to be near the entrances, distributing the bulletins (with gloves on if desired). A clean set of bulletins will be put out after each Mass in groups of 25. If you need more than that, please go to the office work area and pick up another group of bulletins. They will be marked as groups of 10 to minimize the waste if they are not used at that Mass. Dismissal of guests – Other ministers need to be in the aisles, walking backward and inviting people who wish to leave to do so. Remind guests to keep the proper distancing. There are taped lines on the carpet to help the people do so. 

CLEAN UP 

When all is finished, please help collect any paper/sheets/hymnals/Sunday’s Word from pews.  Sheets/paper/Sunday’s Word go into the recycle bin in the office work area. Hymnals (if used) go into the closet designated for “used/need to be sanitized” (in the confessional area). Then remove gloves and dispose of them and know that you truly served Christ as you ministered!

Face Covering

Everyone must have some type of face covering, worn as you enter the church building and throughout your ministry in the building. If needed, you may wear light gloves, but they will have to be removed in order to receive Communion.

Need for Lectors

Need for Lectors Due to health concerns, we may not have two lectors at every Mass. We also may need you to lector more often. Please be prepared to read both readings and the intercessions for the Mass. The deacon will not be reading the intercessions (Prayers of the Faithful) at this time. Note that the guidelines are written on the assumption there are two lectors at the Mass.

Checking In

The new area for checking in and picking up the pre-Mass announcement sheet, look over the Lectionary, etc., is up past the ambo and behind the wall. We ask that each lector checks in separately, keeps proper distance, and coordinates with the other lector so everyone is on the same page. Hand sanitizer will be in the check-in area for use before and after you handle any of the books/binders/sheets. Ordinarily the pre-Mass introduction and intercessions will be on sheets and not in binders so that they can be disposed of after each Mass.

Duties

Lector Duties The duties of the lectors remain the same. The pre-Mass announcement lector can be in the chair by the ambo before Mass, ready to introduce the Mass. The other lector can be in their pew. Both with face coverings on until it is time to read. The music director will ordinarily give the signal when to begin the introduction. The lector approaches the ambo, takes off his/her face covering and does the introduction. When finished, he/she places the sheet(s) on the table shelf, uses the hand sanitizer if desired, places the face covering back on, and goes down the ramp to the pew. The intercessions can be done the same way, since they will be on sheets of paper.

Proclaiming God’s Word

Proclaiming God’s Word The procedure for reading from the Lectionary has one added element because you will be handling the pages of the Lectionary. Stop as you go up the ramp, and before sanitizing your hands, completely remove your face covering, touching only the earpieces to do so (not the mask itself), sanitize your hands, then approach the ambo. At the conclusion of the reading replace your face covering, sanitize hands again and return to your seat. Alternatively, if you have gloves on, you do not need to sanitize, but remember that gloves will need to be removed to receive Communion.

Taking Time

The procedures for approaching the ambo and reading are being put into place for an abundance of caution. Do not rush through them. In fact, taking the time to sanitize, for example, helps to bring the proper time of quiet between readings.

Personal Protective Coverings

Everyone must have some type of face covering, worn as you enter the church building and throughout your ministry in the building. If disposable gloves are worn, they must be removed at Communion in order to both receive and distribute Communion.

Number of Ministers

Number of Ministers Due to health concerns, we will not be offering the cup at public Masses. That means we will need a maximum of three Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) for each Mass. The number will depend on how many people are present for the public celebrations. Due to the uncertainty of people coming to Mass, we may need you to be a Communion minister more often. Please check in at the table in the gathering area when you arrive for Mass. Please remember to do so, one at-a-time, to maintain proper distancing.

Approaching the Sanctuary

Approaching Sanctuary for Communion After the Greeting of Peace (which will be given only by a nod, slight bow or gesture) the EMHC approaches the altar. We ask that you do so either via the ramp or the stairs at the back of the sanctuary to keep proper distancing. It also will allow you to sanitize your hands as you come off the ramp or go up the steps. Do that one at-a-time; take your time; we are not in a rush. We have designated three new stations for EMHCs in the sanctuary area, marked by painters’ tape. One on the presider’s chair side and two on the ambo side.

Sanitizing Hands

The consecrated Communion will be in ciboria with lids. The priest will sanitize his hands, receive Communion, and then remove all lids and place the ciboria at either end of the altar, leaving his in the middle. He will then sanitize his hands again, before beginning distribution of Communion, first to the deacon (if present), then to the EMHCs. The priest will then step back and invite each of the Communion ministers to approach the altar, one at-a-time, pick up their ciborium and move to their Communion station. It would be good practice, if possible, to hold the ciborium in the hand you will not be using for distributing Communion.

Sanitize During Distribution

Sanitizing during Distribution Near each Communion station, up against the sanctuary, is a small table with an open purificator and hand sanitizer. If during Communion a minister needs to use it (someone coughs or sneezes near you, you’ve touched the person’s hand with the tops of your fingers you are using to distribute, etc.), go to the table, put the ciborium down on the purificator, sanitize your hands, then return to your Communion station.

Where to Stand During Distribution

Where to Stand for Distribution There are markings on the floor where to stand while distributing Communion, to maintain proper distancing. The way people will approach will change so that no one is passing each other in our narrow aisles. Communion ministers will work in pairs (if there are more than two), giving Communion to specific sections of the church in sequence, rather than distributing to all the sections at the same time. The first station for Communion ministers on the north side will be distributing Communion to the two long sections nearest the Lincoln door side. The third, main central section on that side will be asked to wait until the other two sections have received. Once the two sections have received, the main, central section will receive Communion by coming down the side aisle and returning via the main aisle. On the south side (ambo/music side) the first station for Communion ministers will be distributing to the main, central section and the one next to it. The third, smallest section will be asked to wait until the other sections have received. Starting with different sections on the north and south sides allows for minimal back up of the central section’s moving back to their seats. Once the two sections are complete the third, smallest section will receive Communion by coming down the side aisle and returning via the far aisle.

As People Approach to Receive

As People Approach to Receive There are markings for six-foot distancing in each aisle for those approaching to receive Communion. We will be asking the ushers/greeters to be helping with the Communion procession. The communicants will be asked to stop six feet from you, make a reverential bow, and respond “Amen” after you say, “The Body of Christ.” Then the communicant will take one step forward holding out his/her hands. The Communion minister will place the host in their outstretched hands carefully, so as not to touch them, if at all possible. The communicant then takes two steps to the side, slightly raises their face covering, and consumes his/her Communion, then returns to their pew via one of the aisles. Clearly this procedure will go more slowly than in the past. On the other hand, we most likely will not have the same level of participation during this time. The positive in this is that there will be no hurry. We can reverently hold out the host and proclaim, “The Body of Christ,” wait for the “Amen” response (or give it ourselves if they do not), then carefully place the host in their hand. Do not be in a hurry.

Informing the Congregation

Informing the Congregation We will announce the procedures for Communion to everyone at each Mass before we pray the “Behold the Lamb of God.” If someone still approaches and wants to receive on the tongue, please let them know that they can do so at the end of the Communion line. The priest/deacon will be the one doing so at the end. If someone reaches out to take the host, rather than having open hands, please do not fight that. Just be careful that they take the host and not touch your fingers. We will continue to discourage such practices over time, but not in the moment of receiving Communion.

Physical Separation

“The Body of Christ” and the “Amen” Because of the physical separation, our “The Body of Christ” to the communicant needs to be strong, not mumbled, and if no “Amen” is returned, we need to supply it.

When Communion Has Ended

Following Communion, please go up to the altar (one at-a-time to maintain distance), place the ciborium on the altar and then go down the steps behind the ambo and into the sacristy (again one at-a-time) to wash your hands with soap and water. When done, come out, bow and return to your pew. Do not wait for all to have cleaned their hands.

Distribution to Parishioners Outside

If you are willing to help, after the 10:00 a.m. Sunday Mass there will be a Communion station near the benches of the rose garden outside for those who either parked there and watched the live-streamed Mass or who have come there to receive after watching the Mass at home. We will be letting people know that a Communion minister will be out there for five minutes after the end of the Mass. If participating in this aspect of the ministry, two Communion ministers will be part of the recessional (keeping proper distance) and will exit immediately through the Lincoln side door (we will ask that no one else exit during that time). You will go to the area by the rose garden benches. Anyone who has parked there will approach for Communion by exiting their cars, receive Communion in the same manner as described above, return to their cars for a couple minutes of prayer, then leave the parking lot. We are allowing people from home to drive in and receive if they come to that parking area within five minutes of the end of Mass, park their cars and step out to the Communion line to receive. Under no circumstances is Communion to be passed in through a car window. If someone is that frail, a member of the family can call the parish office to arrange for Communion to be brought to them or to receive a pyx which will allow them to bring Communion to the person.

Two communion ministers will allow for one to hold the ciboria lid and hand sanitizer that might be needed, keep the time within five minutes, as well as pray for those coming forward to receive in this way. After the five minutes, ministers should return to the church through the Lincoln side door and bring the remaining Communion to the altar. While doing so, call for a staff member or sacristan to come to the sanctuary to place the Communion in the tabernacle. Then go to the sacristy and wash hands with soap and water.

Wearing of Protective Coverings

Everyone must have some type of face covering, worn as you enter the church building and throughout your ministry in the building. If disposable gloves are worn, they must be removed at Communion in order to receive Communion.

Server Roles:

There will be a maximum of two servers per Mass. One will sit on each side of the church. The one on the priest’s side will be responsible for processing with the candle nearest the priest for the Gospel (see #5 for how that is adapted) and ringing the bells. Holding the book in front of the priest, setting the altar, or helping wash hands will be temporarily suspended due to the social distancing requirement. The other server (sitting on the ambo side) will be responsible for carrying in/leading out the cross and for the second Gospel candle.

Check in and Vesting

The altar servers will continue to vest in the upper sacristy room as usual but only one at a time. If you step into the sacristy and there is another server present, please wait outside until that server exits, then go in and vest. Both can vest at the same time if you are from the same household. Please know your alb size and only handle the one alb you will be using. We will have to sanitize the garment after each use, so that will save on the number of garments that are not usable.
At the end of Mass when you take off the garment, please transfer it to a hanger and hang the used garment in the closet marked “Used albs) so that we know it needs to be sanitized.

Maintaining social distancing

Before and after Mass we ask that you pay attention to where you are standing so that you maintain the proper physical distancing of six feet. Because people will be entering through the Lincoln side door and the main doors of the church, please stand by the wall near the American flag until Mass begins. Alternatively, you can go to your chair in front of the pews and remain there until the Mass announcements begin.

The Gospel Procession

For the Gospel Procession, the server on the ambo side will bow, go up the steps and pick up their candle. The server on the priest side will wait until the other server begins to go up the steps to do the same, to keep distance. The priest-side server alone will lead the deacon/priest in front of the altar and end on the far side of the ambo (the right-hand side if one is facing out toward the pews). Instead of standing near the ambo and facing the other server, you will stand about where the sanctuary and ramp come together, facing the people. While that procession is occurring the first server moves a few steps back toward the tabernacle and turns and faces the people. When the Gospel is finished, before the priest/deacon moves from the ambo the first server (nearest the tabernacle) goes and puts their candle in place, walks down the steps, turns and bows, and returns to their seat. When that server lets go of their candle, the other server then goes behind the priest/deacon and puts their candle in place, walks down the steps, turns and bows, and returns to their seat. Then the deacon/priest can move back to their seat or to begin the homily.

Thank you for your willingness to serve and adapt in this new situation.

Personal Protection Equipment

Everyone must have some type of face covering, worn as you enter the church building and throughout your ministry in the building. We ask that you wear disposable gloves while you perform your pre-Mass and post-Mass responsibilities. They will be provided by the parish and are available in both the upper and lower sacristies. When finished with all the pre-Mass responsibilities, please remove the gloves properly and put them in the waste basket. You will need to use a separate set for pre- and post-Mass duties.

Preparing Hosts and Chalice

Due to health concerns we will not be offering the cup at public Masses, and all Communion that is distributed at the Mass will be consecrated at the Mass in the number of ciboria that match the number of Communion ministers. Please check with a priest or staff member before Mass as to that number and the number of hosts to be equally distributed among them. In addition, the priest will now consume his own host rather than sharing pieces of it with others. Rather than the large presider host, he will use a medium-sized host (like the one for the monstrance). The chalice will be prepared as follows:

  • Chalice
  • placing a purificator over it
  • then a small gold paten with the medium-sized priest’s host
  • then the pall

Place the prepared chalice on the side credence table.
Note: when placing hosts in ciboria, please do not handle them. They can be poured from the bag and counted as they are poured. Bags contain 50 hosts.

Setting the Credence Table and Sanctuary

The Presentation of the Gifts has been suspended for now.
All ciboria with hosts already in them, the chalice as prepared above, the small cruet (be sure the stopper is inserted into it) with a small amount of wine, the water cruet (also with stopper), and the washing of hands bowl and towel are to be placed on the credence table in the sanctuary. Check to see that:

  • the key is in the tabernacle
  • candles at ambo and altar are lit
  • Gospel book stand is on the altar
  • hand sanitizer is available at the lector station, sanctuary credence table, presider’s chair, and two Communion stations
  • Preparing the additional tables Two small tables are in place up against the sanctuary. Each table should have on it:
      1. a clean purificator opened completely
      2. a bottle of hand sanitizer
Post Mass Responsibilities

Post-Mass responsibilities include: wiping down the cross (where it is held), candle holders and bells, if used by the altar servers. Remember to wear gloves for any post-Mass duties. Cleaning wipes will be in the lower sacristy for your use.

  • Sacred vessels should be cleaned as usual using plenty of soap and warm/hot water.
  • A clean dish cloth and dish towel should be used for washing and drying the sacred vessels.
  • The sacristy counter should be wiped down with disinfectant spray before placing clean vessels on it.
  • If you are able to assist ushers/greeters go through the church collecting any paper, sheets, hymnals, etc. left in pews, that would be helpful. There will be a designated closet for “used/need to be sanitized” and “already sanitized/available for use” (the two confessionals on the north side), as well as a recycle bin for any worship aids or papers (in the office work room).

Additional / Related Content