Church Open for Private Prayer

Church Open for Private Prayer

Please read complete instructions before coming to the church

Dear Parishioners,

I want to share with you some good news as we have received direction from the Archdiocese on
the GRADUAL opening of our parishes.

One of the most difficult sacrifices for Catholics during this time of pandemic has been the suspension of most sacramental celebrations, especially the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. While we are eager to return to our churches, the PROCESS must be executed in a safe and prudent way. As elsewhere, there needs to be a GRADUAL re-opening of our liturgical life and thus the directives propose three phases. In issuing these directives, it is understood that not every parish may be able to offer public Mass due to particular circumstances, such as a heightened risk to the priest, the inability of the parish to provide the personnel called for by these directives, or to sanitize adequately the worship space between uses, as well as other circumstances. These guidelines apply to all churches and places of public worship.

The following pertains to PHASE 1 OPENING at SAINT JOSEPH’S, BOGOTA. Note: these hours and procedures are subject to change based on directives from the Archdiocese and civil authorities and the experience at Saint Joseph’s.

PHASE ONE:
1. Consideration will be given to the policies of state and local authorities.
2. Cardinal Tobin continues to dispense the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday as well as from “Easter duty” (the obligation to receive Holy Communion during the season of Easter).
3. Churches may be opened solely for personal prayer during limited and designated hours.
Individuals and families may enter the church for quiet prayer only. During opening hours, a parish staff member must be physically present in the church to ensure social distancing and sanitizing. No gatherings are permitted.
a. Beginning Wednesday, May 27, 2020, St. Joseph’s will be open exclusively for Private Prayer (no group prayer, devotions or Masses).
b. Here is the schedule when St. Joseph’s will be open for private prayer:
Mondays – 10am-1pm
Wednesdays – 10am-11:00am and 1pm-3pm
Fridays – 10am-1pm
Saturdays – 10am-1pm

4. In accord with national, state and local health directives, those who show symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed to an infected person are not permitted to enter the church for 14 days.
5. Holy water fonts will remain empty until further notice.
6. We will have hand sanitizers at the entrances of the church and should be used by all those who enter.
7. Public celebrations of liturgies, devotions, or other group prayer are not permitted at this time for any reason.
8. Masks must be worn by all individuals while in the church. Unfortunately no one may enter the Church without a face mask- including children. No more than 10 people are allowed in the Church.
9. Individuals and families must maintain social distancing (six feet) between each person while in the church. Please consider bringing your own wipes as a courtesy to clean areas where you sit or touch before and after use. Every other row of pews has been taped off and people may only sit or
kneel in designated sections of those pews reserved for private prayer. Please avoid unnecessary touching of surfaces (statues, pews other than your own, etc). Please do not leave anything behind:
tissues, prayer books, prayer cards, etc. Please do not bring children who are too young to remain praying in place (to avoid wandering/touching surfaces).
Sections of the church and specific pews will be marked specifically for sitting. Other sections will be roped off. The Church door by the Rectory and one of the front doors will be propped open. All others will be locked.
10. Visitors are asked to sit or stand in designated areas.
11. Bathrooms will be closed.
12. The church will be wiped down and disinfected after each opening and closing.
13. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be by appointment. Please call the Rectory to schedule an appointment for Confession. Masks must be worn by confessor and penitent.
12. The Parish office remains closed.
13. The obligation to participate in Sunday Mass remains lifted.
14. The Parish will continue to live stream Holy Mass on Weekdays and on Sundays. You can watch Mass on St Joseph’s Facebook page.
15. The specific date for the commencement of Phase Two will be announced. Consideration will be given to the policies of state and local authorities.

PHASE TWO:
While the specific date for the commencement of Phase Two has not yet been announced, it will include the directives for the celebration of public Masses on weekdays as well as funerals, with particular restrictions.

PHASE THREE:
While the specific date for the commencement of Phase Three has not yet been announced, it will include the directives for the celebration of public Masses on Sundays, as well as Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, Weddings, and RCIA ceremonies, each with their own particular
restrictions.
As we receive the clear directives for phases two and three, we will immediately share them with you. Again, many thanks for your patience and your prayers in these challenging days. Be sure to let us know if you have any particular concerns. Let us continue to pray! I’ll be praying for you; please
also pray for me. Together let us pray for all who suffering in any way. May God bless us as we continue to celebrate this Easter season.

Fr. Scott