FROM BISHOP WEISENBURGER
News as of November 18
A fourth pastor, has no symptoms, but has tested positive for Covid-19. His parish also will close temporarily. At present our Human Resources office reports just in the current week 27 employees across the Diocese have been placed on Covid-related leave to self-isolate or quarantine. All are related to parish office contact/spread. Several pastors have informed me that in response to this they are directing their office staff to stay away from the office entirely and to work from home for the next two weeks. I think this is exceptionally wise and I this approach for the time being. Please encourage our parish staffs, deacons and priests to wear masks in the office, maintain social distancing and practice good hygiene.
Covid-fatigue can cause us to become lax about protocols at the very time we need to be vigilant. Now is a good time to communicate abundantly through parish Facebook or web page, and to offer prayer for an end to the pandemic.
May God bless you abundantly and keep you safe.
+Edward J. Weisenburger
Re-opening of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Benson phase II. Starting 10/10/20
- Notification will be sent that the Sunday Mass dispensation remains suspended indefinitely for all persons in or visiting the Tucson Diocese. This notification will include those in the vulnerable classified, 65+, or with chronic health conditions. These individuals are strongly urged to stay home. Parishioners who in any way feel ill are urged, in the strongest sense, to remain home and not come onto Parish Property.
- A note will be posted on the Church’s website, flock note and at the entrance to the Church to remind Parishioners that there is an inherent risk, regardless of age or health, in attending any public event; this includes religious services. While we are working diligently to reduce the risk, there are no risk-free situations. A Parishioner’s presence at a public event constitutes his or her understanding and acceptance of this essential level of risk.
- The use of mask is strongly recommended. Using a mask is a sign of our desire to do our part in helping to prevent others from spreading germs. In the words of Bishop Weisenburger, “the use of masks is an especially strong sign of your support for your Priests and Ministers.”
- A separate time for the elderly and medically fragile will be made to have Holy Communion given to those who have participated in Mass online.
- Holy Communion will be given in the hand only. Holy Communion will be given at the proper time at the Eucharistic Celebration. Holy Communion will be taken to Parishioners in the pews. Deacons and Extra-Ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist (65years and below) may help if necessary. Deacons (65+ years) will need to have clearance from the Bishop to assist at Mass and with the distribution of Holy Communion. There will be a small table with hand sanitizer, and a towels to cleanse the hands of the Ministers of Holy Communion as needed.
- The Priests, the Deacon (65+ years cleared by the Bishop), the extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist (not more than 65 years or 65+ years cleared by the Pastor), will be allowed to take Holy Communion to the Home bound outdoors.
- Mass will be offered on Tuesday and Wednesday during the week. (following the protocols as on Sundays) at 8:00 a.m. Eucharistic adoration will follow the Tuesday Mass for 45 minutes in the Church. Those in attendance will remain at their seat, observing the Sunday protocols.
- A basket will be available at the entrance of the church for the collection. Two Ushers will be responsible for processing the collection while wearing appropriate PPE – place the offerings into plastic bags, seal them, and place them in the safe. (No one will handle the collection offerings with his bare hands including those processing the collections prior to banking.)
- The Environment varies between indoor and outdoor services. Outdoor services, therefore, are fairly easy to prepare and clean. The lawn will be partitioned into 6-foot squares for individuals and slightly larger squares for family groups. The folding chairs will be cleaned after use with an appropriate disinfecting solution of (bleach and water) and allowed to dry for the appropriate amount of time. Stair rails and benches that are used will be disinfected as well. Any item that comes in contact with Parishioners will be sanitized before first use and after each successive use. No written material will be utilized for an indefinite period.
- Indoor Services will require more preparation and cleaning. Touchless hand services have been procured and are mounted at the entrance and exit of the Church. All paper materials have been removed from the Church pews pockets, as well as pamphlets and fliers in display racks. Music and songbooks have been removed in coordination with the suspension of singing in Church. The cushions have been removed from the pews and stored. Holy water fond has been emptied. The Ushers will assist with social distancing as people enter the Church. Every other pew has been taped off to allow for social distancing and to maintain the maximum of 51 Parishioners (25% of normal capacity). The pew design lends to a natural segmentation for seating, with three segments on each pew. Each section will allow for one individual or a family or family can use more than one section. The Ushers will be trained, assisted by additional volunteers in assisting Parishioners to maintain social distancing. For good ventilation as well as to have our specific capacity level, we will close the wrought iron doors when capacity has been reached. A sign will be placed on the Church doors to indicate that the church has reached its seating capacity; and letting those unable to attend the particular Mass know when the next Mass will take place. They will also have the opportunity to participate in the Mass using the extended seating available outdoor. Pews, kneelers, and pew pockets will be cleaned after each Mass. Doorknobs, handles and surfaces will also be disinfected.
- Church Linens are diligently cleaned and sanitized by trained volunteers who follow the instructions provided by the diocese.
- Janitorial Staff and/or volunteers will be trained in CDC guidelines and proper usage of appropriate proper wearing of PPE. Disinfecting solutions that meet EPA standards for mitigating COVID-19. Bathrooms will be cleaned after each event using EPA approved disinfecting liquids and cleansers. The floors in the Church are carpeted will be sprayed with aerosol disinfectant after each Mass.
- Air circulation is critical. The air condition will be turned on several hours prior to a Mass and allowed to run for several more hours in order to exchange the air in the church effectively. The Church will remain opened when the Church is occupied to increase air exchange and minimize accumulation of germs.
- Extended Mass schedule has been considered. Sunday Eucharistic Celebration will begin on Friday, then Saturday and Sunday. One Mass on each day. This will allow for proper sanitization, cleaning and the church to be refreshed by new air.
1- Children under 6 years old are exempt from wearing face masks.
2- Confessions will be inside the Church, but not in the confessional. The doors and windows of the Church will be opened for more and better ventilation during the time of confessions.
3- There will be no Fiestas, Potlucks or food distributions on Parish property until further notice.