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May 2020

Waah! Palm Sunday Palms Discarded

Well, the palms we never got to distribute for Palm Sunday were moldy and bad, so I threw them out today as I was cleaning out the rectory garage. They weren't blessed yet so it wasn't difficult. To the dumpster they must go. Quite a different fate than they were harvested for!

Susan and I spent the day dusting off some sound equipment from the church basement and we have a workable solution for outdoor weekday mass, anyway.

Watch for an announcement. Thursday would be the first day we can offer outdoor mass, as Wednesday is scheduled to be live streamed mass for the school children. 

 

 


Bishop's Guidelines For Outdoor Car Masses

Just in case you are having trouble locating the bishop's guidelines with which we must conform, here they are:

 

DIRECTIVES FOR OUTDOOR/IN CAR MASSES

IN TIME OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

DIOCESE OF TRENTON

15 May 2020

  • COVID 19 is still a virulent contagious disease communicated between humans; masks should be worn outside wherever possible; handwashing with soap/water or alcohol-based sanitizer should take place; social distancing (6 feet) should continue; the dispensation from Sunday obligation and Easter duty remains in effect until further notice.
  • Those with a COVID 19 diagnosis or symptoms, those not feeling well, or in a  high risk category should NOT visit church or attend public Mass whether indoors or outdoors.
  • Pastors should consider offering an outdoor “in car” Mass if it can be done safely and in a dignified, worthy manner.
  • One only outdoor “in car” Mass per parish on Sunday
  • Weekday Mass may be offered at the Pastor’s discretion. 
  • Such Masses should be offered only if safety and dignity can be maintained.  
  • In parishes where Masses are offered in a language other than English, the pastor might consider a single bi-lingual Mass or offer one additional Mass if truly necessary.
  • All Pastors/parishes are not required to provide an outdoor “in car” Mass. 
  • Live-steamed Masses should be continued where currently practiced, even if an outdoor “ in car” Mass is provided.

Mass may be celebrated 

  • At an outdoor altar; Holy Communion may be distributed afterward at the parking lot exits as car leaves parking area.  A minister should be positioned at both sides of the vehicle. All sacred vessels should be appropriately purified immediately after use.
  • Live-streamed from inside the church with Holy Communion being distributed afterward in the manner described above.
  • Pastors should arrange for assistance from staff and should seek police assistance if possible to maintain order.  Volunteers should be identified and identifiable. Vehicles are to be parked six feet apart (e.g. every other parking space) so that windows can remain open; otherwise windows should remain closed.
  • No papers of any kind may be handed out or distributed.
  • The best manner for the distribution of Holy Communion (Cf. 5a above) should be determined, planned and announced by pastor with advice sought by parish leaders.  Hands must be sanitized periodically during the distribution of Holy Communion. Clergy and other ministers are to wear masks.  Communicants are to remove their masks immediately before receiving and replace it afterward.
  • Any physical contact with a communicant will require minister to sanitize before next distribution
  • Sanitizer must be readily available to the minister, perhaps held by staff wearing gloves
  • Communion in hand preferred
  • The pastor will determine, plan, and announce the manner of taking up the collection.  
  • Such Masses are experimental and should be discontinued if impractical or undignified.

Additional recommendations:

  •  FM transmission of audio, they must be on permitted FCC frequencies.
  •  The volume of an outside sound system should be properly regulated and in accord with municipal noise ordinances.  
  • The outdoor “in car” Mass may be simulcast.

This permission is temporary and in effect from May 18, 2020 until rescinded by the Bishop.

Approved by Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M., J.C.D.

Bishop of Trenton, May 15, 2020.


Pastor's Comments on Some Suggestions We Have Received

Thank you for your responses to the survey and your many suggestions.

Questions/Help

Does anyone have access to:

    1) AM or FM broadcast equipment, low power,  Sec. 15 compliant

    2) Extension cord or cable for outdoor speakers to enable us to get them farther from the church

    3) Sound solutions for our parking lot broadcast problems?

    4) The know-how to help us come up with something??

    5) Anyone heard of AmpMe?

 

A few comments on some of them may be helpful:

Only the possibilities offered by the bishop within the guidelines directed by the governor are given permission by the bishop.  What other parishes in other dioceses may do is not helpful at this time. (The guidelines are posted on the Diocese of Trenton's Website and in the Governor's most recent executive decree.)

Confessions were indicated on our survey as among the things people miss least since the lockdown. There is currently no permission for drive-in or drive-by routinely scheduled confession given to priests in our diocese. 

The priest and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion would be masked as per directives. I saw nothing about gloved hands. In the many weeks before indoor masses were banned, I was distributing Eucharist without touching hands. The hands are supposed to be sanitized if there is inadvertent contact with a communicant's hand or tongue. 

I have misgivings about broadcasting everything over outdoor loudspeakers in a residential neighborhood on a routine basis. That is why I mentioned FM or AM broadcasting the signal. We could possibly deploy smaller speakers throughout the parking lot without blasting them from the church. Equipment anyone? There was a helpful suggestion about portable bluetooth speakers. We have a portable outdoor battery powered speaker somewhere in storage and I plan on looking at it Monday. 

We could share the password or change the security or set up a a guest network for the school wifi, but I'm not sure how many viewers we could accommodate, or the range.  IT will be available on Monday for my many questions.

 

 


Car Masses?

ParkingLotThe bishop has given permission for parishes to hold "car masses" in accord with the governor's new guidelines. We'll have to study the regulations to see how we could best implement these.

The biggest challenge is the sound system/audio system for hearing the mass. Some are suggesting FM radio, even though the word on the web seems to be AM radio for its longer range and less finicky nature. Audio sound systems are also possible and we do have a set of speakers we have used for the Living Rosary. These wouldn't have to be placed near the altar, but could be located strategically among the cars. 

Communion would be distributed auto by auto on the way out of the parking lot. They have suggested one person on either side of the car distribute Eucharist. 

Another sanctioned method is to have a live streaming mass inside the church, followed by distribution of communion when cars in attendance leave the parking lot. This sounds easier, since people could pray the mass on cell phones without the worries of a temperamental outdoor sound system. 

If cars are parked in every other space, the windows could be rolled down. If not, the windows are supposed to remain closed.

Of course, just about every kind of reasonably priced FM or AM transmitter are out of stock on the internet. I had investigated this a few weeks ago when I though this might be coming, but hoped there would be more sane alternatives using sacred space. Such is life.

The earliest we would get to a weekend mass would be NEXT weekend, but we'll let everyone know by mid-week (hopefully).

Too bad there's not a drive in movie theater closer than Vineland! Perhaps we could rent the facility during the day-time. Not for the screen, but the parking and sound system!

Suggestions are welcomed, 

 

Parking Lot Mass Survey and Suggestions

 

Keep in mind, at this point no regularly scheduled confessions have been allowed by the bishop.

 


Visit Church in AM !

It may be best to visit the church before noontime, before the stained glass windows begin to heat the church so oppressively. We'll keep an eye on the church temperature, but may adjust the visiting hours if the afternoon temps get too uncomfortable. Needless to say, we cannot afford to run the air conditioner under such circumstances.

The building tends to retain heat, so the interior temperatures won't significantly cool off by dinnertime hours if it has already heated up. 


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As of this writing, it's 83 degrees and mostly sunny outside. Here are the interior church readings:

ChurchThe pew seating areas are basically AHU1, 2 and 3.

Upper level is the choir loft, and it can get really toasty up there by later afternoon. The Holy Cross Window in summer sunset is like a furnace!

 


Urgent Call to Action!

Unnamed
Diocese of Trenton

Office of Communications and Media

701 Lawrenceville Road • Trenton, New Jersey 08648

Telephone (908) 347-1137 • dotcomm@dioceseoftrenton.org

 

A call to advocacy for Catholic school inclusion in HEROES ACT funding

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., shared the following message May 14 to all members of the diocesan community:

Today, the Bishops of NJ and I learned that the House Democrats released The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, the fourth phase of economic stimulus relief or CARES 4. 

H.R.6800 includes several provisions that would protect, and even expand, funding for programs that Congress established in the last CARES Act, such as an extension of unemployment benefits until January 31, 2021, expansion of the SBA payroll protection program loans to include all nonprofits regardless of size, and increased funding for the Supplemental Nutrition assistance program. However, unlike the previous CARES Act, H.R.6800 WOULD PROHIBIT NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS INCLUDING OUR CATHOLIC SCHOOLS IN THE DIOCESE OF TRENTON FROM ACCESSING ANY PORTION OF THE PROPOSED $200 BILLION INCLUDED IN THE LEGISLATION FOR EDUCATION.


Our Catholic schools struggle to stay open as it is, and the pandemic will impact them negatively as our neighboring dioceses in New Jersey have revealed.  Please visit njcatholic.org/faith-in-action or click here to contact our New Jersey Senators and Congressmen using the message template there.  We need to work quickly to ask their support.  Thank you and God bless you in these stressful days.


Respectfully yours in the Lord,

Bishop O’Connell


The Church Flowers Aren't Shut Down

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Knockout Yellow Rose

 

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Nepeta

 

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Clematis
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Phenomenal Lavender

 

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Knockout Red

 

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Creeping Thyme

 

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Clematis

 

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Iris with budding Peony



The weather has been generally kind to the church plants and gardens, with many of them just beginning to bloom, except of course, the daffodils and narcissus which have spent their moments of glory. 

The plantings around the church walkways are beginning to mature. The boxwoods are in generally good shape, and the fragrant plantings we added at the staircases and paths are coming in nicely. The westward facing slope of the lawn at the bottom of the south east stairway was replaced by plantings of lavender, fragrant knockout roses and creeping thyme. These weathered winter well and are already adding size and stature.

Nepeta around the campus has been a sure bet. Most of it is Walker's Low and gets bigger and bigger each year, defying the drying winds around the church. 

The plantings around the Mary statue need a bit of grooming, but they also are becoming established. The mixture of boxwood, lavender and roses near the meditation bench can be quite relaxing.

The clematis are still trying to make their way up the pergola. One brave plant barely reached the top last year, and if we can keep it from being blown down, it may begin to establish a roof.

I think the clematis plants on the trellises against the carriage house were rescued from pots at the base of the pergola since they weren't getting watered by the sprinklers. They had a rough couple of years, but have already bloomed and are reaching for the sky.

 


Church Hours

Church Hours

10 AM – 4 PM        Monday – Friday

 

Visitors

Please use face masks.

Observe social distancing:

       Alternate pew sitting from anyone nearby

       6 feet distance

       10 persons maximum capacity

Please occupy designated areas only.

Please no group prayer of any kind.

Please pray!