Beginning June 11th - Churches may resume weekday Masses on a limited basis and are allowed to pray only two weekday Masses. St. Peter's has chosen to have Masses on Thursday and Fridays, both at 9:00 am. We will be allowed 50 people to attend the weekday Masses.
May 30th we will be able to offer on a limited basis the beginning of public Masses here at St. Peter’s. We will be limited to a maximum of 65 people at each Mass (that includes the priest, the reader, the musicians, the ushers and the congregation). Fr. John and I have received the necessary permissions for each of us to offer Mass publicly again and we have been purchasing some of the various materials we will be needing to clean the church after each Mass. We do need your help as well. We will use only the main entrance to the church so that we can count the people coming in and in the interest of everyone’s health, we will need to turn people away once we have reached our limited capacity. We are asking you to bring and wear your own mask while at Mass (we are still waiting to get the very limited number of masks we have ordered). The same is true for gloves if you would feel more comfortable wearing gloves. The first five to ten people in the congregation at each Mass will be expected to stay to help with cleaning the church after Mass. I remind all of you that the Archbishop has dispensed all of you from the obligation to attend Mass until at least July 5th. Please consider your own health and the health of your family as you make the decision to come to Mass. At least for the beginning we will be using our regular Sunday Mass schedule. Please check the parish website and online bulletin for any updates. Thank you for your cooperation and patience. ~ Fr. Mark
Return to Mass Directives, Guidelines and Considerations, beginning Sunday, May 31, 2020.
DIRECTIVES are items that should be followed for the safe celebration of Mass.
• Priests and deacons over age 65 or those with pre-existing health conditions, must first receive permission from the Archbishop/Vicar for Clergy before publicly celebrating Mass, by contacting the Vicar for Clergy.
• Priests celebrating “help-out” Masses cannot celebrate at two different parishes on the same weekend. Optimally, help-out priests would help out only at one parish week-to-week.
• Public Mass will be celebrated on Sundays only. This includes Saturday evening Mass(es) of Anticipation and Sunday Masses.
• Attendance at each individual Mass is limited to no more than 25 percent of your Church’s Occupancy Permit.
• The obligation to attend Sunday Mass is dispensed through Sunday, July 5.
• Signage should be placed on entrance doors asking anyone with fever or flu-like symptoms not to enter the church.
• Priests, deacons, readers, servers, and sacristans are to wash/sanitize their hands before and after Mass, and before and after the distribution of Communion.
• Communion is to be distributed only by the priest(s) and vested permanent or transitional deacon. If the presider is a priest in a higher-risk category (age/pre-existing condition), then a designated Extraordinary Minister can be used.
• Hand sanitizer is to be used before the distribution of Communion. If inadvertent contact is made, the priest or deacon is to stop and sanitize his hands before continuing to distribute Communion. It may be prudent to have a small table with the proper items for sanitizing nearby.
• Communion is to be received ONLY in the HAND.
• Communion will not be distributed by the Cup.
• Social distancing of a minimum of 6 feet between people not living in the same household must be followed.
• A minimum of using every other pew should be followed. Every third pew is preferred. Intervening pews must be cordoned off.
• All Missals, Bibles, prayer cards or other paper resources must be removed from pews.
• Frequently touched surfaces in the church (pews/pew tops, door handles, microphones, etc.) should be cleaned and sanitized per CDC recommendations after every liturgy.
• Hand sanitizer should be available at all church entrances.
• Holy Water fonts should be emptied.
• No physical contact during the Sign of Peace is allowed.
• Priests should not celebrate more than three Masses for Sunday.
• Additional Mass times may be added at the Pastor, Administrator, Parish Director’s discretion, but priests should celebrate no more than three Masses per Sunday.
• Worship Aids are discouraged. Providing on-line worship aids is encouraged. If paper worship aids are used, they should be limited to one page and people should be directed to take them with them after Mass. If worship aids are left in pew, they must be collected and destroyed after each Mass. They cannot be reused for the next Mass.
• Non-essential gatherings should be suspended, including Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Post-Mass social gatherings/refreshments (e.g. Coffee & Donuts).
• A cantor is allowed, but choirs should not be used.
• Hospitality ministers and ushers should wear masks and should not make physical contact when greeting parishioners.
• Sacristans and those who prepare communion elements must carefully wash their hands prior to touching the hosts and pouring the wine; a face-mask and gloves are encouraged.
• All vessels containing the bread and wine are to remain covered until placed on the altar.
• A separate chalice should be used for the celebrant, each concelebrant and deacon.
• All patens, ciboria, chalices, cruets, bread and wine should remain on the credence table in the sanctuary and handled only by the sacristan or those whom the pastor delegates.
• There is to be no presentation of Gifts.
• All communion vessels are to be thoroughly and properly cleaned after Mass with hot, soapy water after being purified according to the rubrics.
• Collection baskets are not to be passed person-to-person. Baskets with long handles are allowed. Ushers taking the Collection should wear masks and gloves. Large baskets could be placed at church exits for people to drop envelopes or donations. Ushers must immediately wash their hands after the collection.
• Restrooms should be cleaned between Masses.
• Offertory money should be placed in a tamper-evident bag, logged, and kept in the safe for at least 3 days before being counted.
• Offertory counters should wear gloves and masks, and practice social distancing.
• No paper bulletins should be distributed. GUIDELINES are suggestions for the Priest/Parish Director’s discretion
• All those as defined by the health department as more vulnerable (i.e. 60+ years of age, those with compromised immune systems, those with underlying health conditions, those who are especially anxious about being in a large group, etc.) should be encouraged to stay at home.
• Mass attendance should be organized in some way.
o Designate Mass time by household name (A to H, Mass 1; I to O, Mass 2; P to Z, Mass 3);
o Provide a sign-up system either on the parish website or by calling the parish office;
o Assign a Mass time per registered family; o Some space designation must be allowed for walk-in attendance.
• The use of facemasks should be encouraged.
• Ushers should direct the Communion line and markings should be placed on the floor to preserve social distancing.
• If possible, hand sanitizer should be available in the aisle(s) for use by people prior to receiving communion.
• Gathering Area Tables and Chairs should be put into storage so as not to invite people to use them.
• Baptismal pools or those with fonts that flow into a basin should be emptied. If emptying would be difficult, the water should be sterilized with bleach after the final Mass.
• Entrance doors should be propped open to limit contact with door handles or hospitality ministers may hold open doors.
• The use of familiar hymns is encouraged to limit any need for a worship aid.
• Directions for dismissal after Mass should be provided by the celebrant to provide an orderly exit with proper social distancing. Pew-by-pew, for example.
• Attendees should be advised to wash their clothes following the service.
• Parish bulletins/news should be posted to the parish website or emailed to parishioners.
CONSIDERATIONS are things to consider in establishing processes for implementing DIRECTIVES
• Does your parish have enough cleaning supplies?
• Develop a process for cleaning between Masses that maintains social distancing.
• Determine the minimum number of people needed to clean pews and surfaces.
• Estimate how long it will take to properly clean between Masses and schedule Mass times accordingly. Consider spacing Masses further apart.
• There still will be a risk for anyone who attends a public Mass to contract the coronavirus.
• There is no pre-determined timeline for how long restrictions will be in place.
Dear Lord, we come before You confident that You know our needs,
And that You are present with us this very moment.
You know our fears, confusion, loneliness and pain.
You know what we worry about and what keeps us up at night.
But although many things in life don’t make sense to us, Lord,
We know for sure that You are always with us and will never leave us.
Our faith teaches us that when we are in pain of any kind You are closest to us.
Please give us, Lord, the firm belief that all things fit into Your divine plan,
And that everything that happens really does happen for a reason.
May Your own prayer of trust and surrender to the Father always be ours:
“Into Your hands I surrender my spirit.”
We rest in this prayer, Lord, and pray it in Your holy name. Amen.
The 'Parking Lot Mass' has been cancelled. Click here for more information.
We are holding 'Parking Lot Mass' starting on Sunday April 19th at 9:00 AM. Click here for more information.
To the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee,
You are invited to join us for Holy Week and Easter Mass by viewing the Masses online or on TV. Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki will preside at Masses from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Holy Week Masses will be broadcasted on Channels 18 and 24 (CW18/MY24) and Easter Mass will be broadcasted on Channel 12 (WISN-TV). An additional Easter Sunday Mass in Spanish will be broadcasted on Channels 18 and 24.
The schedule is as follows.
All of the Masses will also be available online. Streaming will be live and links to the Masses can be found on www.archmil.org/Find-a-Mass.
With the safety of parish members being a priority during this uncertain time, our Archbishop has decided to cancel all curbside distributions of palms. Click here to read his inspirational Easter Letter.
• The suspension of Mass with a congregation present extends now through May 3rd. The dispensation from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass is now extended through May 31st. Priests will continue to celebrate the Eucharist without a congregation. Abuses have occurred where priests were publicly indicating that the doors of the church would be open during these Masses thus encouraging people to ignore the “stay safe at home” order. The number of people attending exceeding the permitted number. Therefore, priests must ensure that church doors are secured during these Mass times. Basically, we can’t do anything that would encourage a gathering of people.
• The distribution of Holy Communion remains reserved for Viaticum. The distribution of Communion in a “drive by” set up not only violates the regulation against gatherings of large numbers but it also, much more seriously, undermines our Eucharistic theology. Pastors are still teachers of their people. Teach them to reclaim the age-old tradition of Spiritual Communion. Help them grasp the idea that the desire to receive the Eucharist is a grace in itself, and, if one offers up that desire in prayer to God, it can become an occasion for even greater grace and spiritual growth.
• As for Anointing of the Sick, Father Jerry Herda and father Javier Bustos are going to work with hospitals and health care facilities on a way to allow a very limited number of priests to have access to patients and residents in serious need of the Sacrament of the Sick and/or Viaticum. Priests have been asked to contact Father Jerry Herda if they are willing and able to offer these services. Only healthy priests with no underlying medical conditions will be selected for this special ministry. We will provide training for them in how to provide the sacrament in a manner that is safe for both you and the person being visited.
• The Sacrament of Reconciliation is not suspended but the regulations for public gatherings and social distancing must be observed. There are to be no “drive-by” confessions. If a person is in serious need of the sacrament they should call and schedule a time. General Absolution: It is the responsibility of the diocesan bishop to determine if local conditions meet the threshold of “grave necessity” for general absolution (Can 961§2). As of now, our current conditions do not constitute this “grave necessity” for general absolution to be used in the Archdiocese as it is still possible for pastors to hear confessions of the faithful. General absolution of this kind would necessitate the gathering of individuals in the same place, which runs counter to the recommendations and directives of health officials and government leaders. If it is determined that the conditions expressed in canon law become present, the Archbishop will issue and communicate new directives.
• Palm Sunday: The celebration of the Eucharist without a congregation present remains in place for Palm Sunday. Kim Mandelkow of our Worship Office has supplied parishes with excellent guides containing the adaptations for Palm Sunday and the Triduum. These guides will also be available in Spanish. These changes were issued by the Vatican and are not “suggestions” but regulations. We know pastors are trying to continue bringing pastoral care to their people and some think distributing palms in some manner will do that. There is no way to ensure the needed level of sanitation required to avoid the spread of this virus. People can be asymptomatic and still be carriers. Therefore, palms will not be distributed in any fashion at this time. It is not only out of a health concern but also from our theological tradition that we will not be distributing palms. Palms are sacramentals, in this case flowing from the sacred liturgy, they are in some way derived from it and lead the people to it, since in fact the liturgy by its very nature is far superior to any sacramental. If people cannot respond right now to being drawn to the liturgy there is a danger the palms become more of sort of “charm” than a sacramental. Bottom line – no distribution of palms this Sunday.
• Triduum: Again, these rites are celebrated without a congregation present. If parishes have the capacity to live-stream they may do so. The Vatican was quite clear that it is live not prerecorded services that can be shared with the people. If the parish does not have the ability to live- stream, people can watch the live-stream feed from the Cathedral. Instructions on how to do so as well as the times will be on the website. The celebration without a congregation present must also use the adapted rites. Note especially for the Easter Vigil it still cannot start before 8:00 pm and there is no lighting of the Easter fire. The Easter candle is simply lit and put in place without procession. You will need to limit the number of people assisting in the celebrations (lector, cantor, server, musician) with the total number limited to ten, including the priest.
• RCIA: Once we come out of this time of crisis, the Archbishop will announce the date we will celebrate as an archdiocese. Please remain connected with the elect and candidates as they deal with this spiritual hardship