COVID-19

Pentecost Sunday, Any Word from Governor Murphy?

PhoneWe await word from the governor or the bishop on the fate of Pentecost Sunday Masses. No word yet. Friday has been a typical day for recent episcopal updates on church regulations and who can sit through hours of the governor's daily updates with no news? The new regulations regarding school graduations were not released as promised and when available, one had to be an internet sleuth to find them.

I suspect any announcement tomorrow will likely not take effect on Pentecost due to what will be called the elaborate planning needed to be in compliance with whatever the new regulations are. Seriously.

There's a perverse symmetry for the entire Paschal Mystery this year to be banned from churches.

So, mass on Sunday as scheduled, 10:30 AM outdoor, in car mass with communion as cars leave the parking lot. Park every other space; no one to leave cars. Roll windows down for sound; stop engines please.

Still we rejoice in the Eucharist and await an infusion of enthusiasm from the Holy Spirit!  Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

 

 


Mass Schedule as of 5/26

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Monday thru Friday   9:00 AM mass 

outdoor in cars when weather permitting, indoor private live-streamed mass if rain

in case of indoor private mass, Holy Communion will be distributed at 9:30 AM outdoors in cars 

Sunday  10:30 AM mass

same weather restrictions as above, except outdoor communion will be in cars at 11:00 AM

 

We're trying to have communion regardless of weather, but mass vary from indoors to outdoors depending on whether the altar and electric equipment would be exposed to rain. 

As of this date, we are not allowed to let anyone inside church for mass. 


"We'll Get There," Meantime Go Shopping, Play Tennis, Do a Time Share or Go to the Beach

While President Donald Trump says he wants to move forward with reopening churches. Gov. Phil Murphy says New Jersey is not ready.

Tension between the White House and New Jersey's governor arose this weekend over a disagreement between when houses of worship should open. Gov. Murphy says the state still needs more time before that can happen.

"I actually spoke to the president late in the day Friday—we'll get there on houses of worship. We have opened outdoor limits to 25 people. We will get to indoor activities probably sooner than later and that…probably at the top of this list. I want to do that, I personally want to do that. But we've got to do it right and at the right pace," Murphy said.

excerpt from NJ.com


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.


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.

 


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


Holy Cross Church Reopens for Private Prayer Beginning May 13

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Good news! Bishop O'Connell has given us permission to open churches in the diocese for private prayer beginning next Wednesday. 

We will announce the hours next week. As he promised, there are some universal regulations and others that can be left to the local parish pastor.

The church must be closed during any live mass streaming and no public liturgies or sacraments are allowed.

Social distancing must be observed and masks must be worn. Rest rooms will remain closed and there will be no holy water in the stoups.

We might close off certain areas of the parking lot and pews to facilitate social distancing, traffic and cleaning.  So be aware.

Bare bones information for now, but great news indeed! Stay alert for our hours and full set of "regulations."

Keep praying!

Fr. Manning

 


Petition New Jersey Governor to Reconsider Complete Closure of Religious Houses of Worship

Some parishioners may wish to to express their wishes that religious houses of worship should be given at least as much consideration as liquor stores, lottery sales, big box home repair centers, etc. when determining safe occupancy and social distancing requirements. 

This petition is organized by NJ State Senator Mike Doherty and can be signed online.

Several parishioners have reported difficulty in sending the governor emails regarding the closure of houses of worship. At times, for example, the state senate webpage appears to have been offline over the last 24 hours. 

An article from NJ.com appears at this link: https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/04/reopen-churches-during-the-coronavirus-lockdown-nj-state-senator-says.html

The petition can be found here:https://www.senatenj.com/petitions/openreligion/

Both the governor and Cardinal Tobin have pushed back on the petition, as we might expect from their previous comments on the issue. 

P.S. It looks as though the petition has now been amended to ask for OUTDOOR religious services. Maybe there is some negotiating going on behind the scenes. 

Please let our elected officials know what you think, whatever position you take. 


Thank you for prayers and financial support

Thank you to everyone for their prayers, cards for well wishes and financial contributions during this time of uncertainty for us all. I especially appreciate those who continue to support the parish with their financial contributions. Your financial support is urgently needed, as many of our expenses are fixed, such as our mortgage.

I encourage school families to keep up to date with their tuition payments. Many families are falling behind in their payments and the school has yet to receive any government or diocesan financial assistance. Our payroll remains a major obligation. As you know, classes are continuing online. 

Let us continue to pray for one another. I remember all of you at daily mass and pray for the day we can gather again to come swiftly. 

Fr. Manning

 


Week Beginning March 23, 2020

SedesSapientiae

Blessings in the Lord everyone!

  • Trenton Catholic schools have just extended school closures until at least April 17th. 
  • Parish offices are closed. Staff remain available on telephone. Mass intentions are available via phone.

Changes to worship schedules this week:

Exposition Holy Hour            Weekdays    9:00 - 10:00 AM    

                                                    Thursday    6:00 - 7:00 PM

  • The church remains open for private prayer 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM weekdays.
  • Based on last weekend's attendance, a few changes will made to the weekend schedule. 
  •     Saturday                9:00 AM church open for prayer
  •                                     no public liturgies in AM
  •                                     5:00 - 6:00 PM Exposition Holy Hour
  •                                     church closes at 6:00 PM
  •     Sunday                   10:30 AM church opens for prayer
  •                                      10:30 - 11:30 AM Exposition Holy Hour
  •                                       5:00 PM - 6:00 PM Exposition Holy Hour
  •                                       church closes at 6:00 PM

 

  • There will be no Benediction at the close of the Holy Hours.
  • Routine hours for Wednesday Exposition are cancelled. (Many slots were no longer filled.)
  • All rest rooms in the church are closed. 

Given the likelihood of a prolonged prohibition of public masses, church finances are obviously a concern. At this point, no mortgage relief is definite and many of our expenses are fixed, not related directly to whether or not masses take place. I will be presenting an outline of parish plans in the coming week. Please contact our Senators and Congressional Representatives to include emergency mortgage relief and emergency financial adjustments for non-profits such as churches.

Let us pray for protection through the intercession of St. Michael, The 14 Holy Helpers and the Virgin Mary in this time of uncertainty. 

I remember you in my daily mass and hope you find a visit to the church and the Blessed Sacrament consoling and peaceful. I moved the Sedes Sapientia statue, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, into the church from the Chapel. It is a wonderful representation of Mary cradling the Infant Jesus in her arms. 

 


What Now After Governor's Directives?

  • Weekday adoration hours will continue at 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM. There have been only a few people in church at one time. Remember to practice safe social distancing and proper hand/face hygiene. 
  • The church remains open for prayer weekdays 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
  • After this weekend, I will have a better idea if the weekend adoration hours should be changed.
  • All bathrooms in the church are closed. (We will need to release the cleaning service to save money until the viral restrictions are lifted.) We'll continue to sanitize door handles and leave them open when possible. 
  • I’m trying to understand the new directives put out by Catholic cemeteries for Christian burials and await some clarification. Funeral directors will have the most direct knowledge of the changes required by the governor’s directive of 3/22. The bishop has asked us not to hold funeral masses or other funeral services in the church.
  • I pray daily mass for your intentions. To have live steaming set up was too expensive at the present time. I may tinker with the setup we had in the old chapel to see if it can be connected, although I presume the equipment is outdated by now.