Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral,
I am pleased to announce that we are returning to public celebrations of Mass in accordance with the State Fire Marshal’s regulations at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. I know many of you have hungered for the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. With that being said, please know that the coronavirus remains active in our area with reports of new cases on a daily basis. Though we will do all we can to help minimize the risks, we cannot make any guarantees about the spread of the coronavirus. The obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been dispensed until further notice, so each person/family is encouraged to consider your personal situation prior to attending Mass. If you have any doubts or underlying issues that place you in a “High Risk” category (age, medical…) you are encouraged to stay home and watch the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass, which we will continue to “livestream” via Facebook.
Due to the guidelines of the State Fire Marshall for “Phase 1”, the number of people who can gather in the church is 25% of the occupancy of the church. With that percentage and the requirement of remaining 6 feet apart, the church is limited to only about 75 people. This applies also to Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals while we are in Phase 1. We will have a Safety Team in place to assist with seating. Please be patient with them and follow their instructions. They are there to ensure we are within regulations and to help us remain safe.
Social distancing in the church MUST be observed. To assist with this regulation, we will block off every other pew, with limited seating in the other pews. All attendees are encouraged to wear a mask. Additionally, we will eliminate the missals in the pew; avoid holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer; eliminate the Sign of Peace; not offer the chalice with the Precious Blood; and encourage reception of the Eucharist in the hand (though reception on the tongue is not forbidden). There will be no “Communion lines”, instead the ministers will bring Holy Communion to you in the pews. This is to minimize movement and the chance of breaking the 6 feet social distance rule.
With the above changes in place, St. Francis Xavier Cathedral will return to PUBLIC celebration of Mass on Saturday, May 16. The Mass schedule is as follows:
DAILY MASSES –
Monday through Friday at 12:05 PM.
WEEKEND MASSES –
Saturday Vigil at 4 PM and
Sundays at 9 AM, 11 AM, and 5:30 PM.
The church will be cleaned after each Mass.
CONFESSIONS will be heard before each daily Mass, Saturday afternoons from 3PM to 3:45PM, and Sunday afternoons from 5PM to 5:15PM.
Again, Archbishop Aymond has left in place the dispensation from attending Sunday Mass. Therefore, there is NO Sunday Mass obligation until further notice in the Diocese of Alexandria, so please proceed with caution and consideration for others.
Thanks for your patience with all of this! The number who may attend will increase gradually, but in the meantime, we want to cooperate so the virus does not spread.
God’s peace be with you. – Fr. Ferguson.