During the months of our current public health emergency, we have all missed the ability to gather together in community for the greatest of our Catholic prayers, the Mass. Bishop Edward Weisenburger has provided guidelines for a gradual, phased reopening of parish activities. The first thing to be restored will be weekend Masses as gathered community. During all phases of reopening each of us must take all reasonable measures to reduce risk to all involved including maintaining the physical distancing and other protocols in effect in the community.
At Corpus Christi, we have been able to restore weekends with Masses at 4:30p.m. Saturday and 7:45a.m. and 9:45a.m. Sunday.
Before you plan to come to Mass, please carefully read the information below so that we can all work together for an environment of reduced risk.
Don’t forget: Bishop Edward Weisenburger has suspended indefinitely the Sunday Mass obligation for all persons living in or visiting in the Tucson Diocese.You are subject to no church requirement to attend Mass at this time.
NEW: Communion will be distributed only outdoors as you leave the church following the final blessing and dismissal. This is a significant departure from the normal order of the Mass. Outdoor distribution has been determined to be preferable for safety reasons and is now mandatory.
NEW: Ushers will guide all during the exit from the sanctuary. In order to keep physical distancing protocols, dismissal will be row-by-row as has been customary for Communion processions in the past.
If you are among those classified as vulnerable (persons aged 65 or older or persons of any age whose health is compromised) I strongly urge you to remain at home and not come onto parish property.
Keep in mind that there is an inherent risk to anyone, regardless of age or health, in attending any public event. This includes religious services. While we are committed to do everything reasonable to reduce that risk, there are no risk-free situations. Please understand that your presence at any public event, including Mass, constitutes an acknowledgment that you understand and accept this risk.
If you are feeling ill in any way, please remain at home and do not come onto parish property.
A face mask covering nose and mouth is now mandatory when on parish property. Our clergy and many lay ministers are repeatedly in our churches and exposed to hundreds of people. The use of a mask is an especially strong sign of your support for your clergy, lay ministers, and all those who come to pray together.
Our seating capacity will be greatly reduced so please respect any sign posted at the church entrance indicating the church is full and, if possible, return for a later-scheduled Mass. The following reductions in capacity will be in effect:
We will close off one pew between each occupied pew in the church.
Within pews we will ask that there be a minimum of 6 feet left open between household groups (i.e. we are not asking you to separate in that way from members of your own household).
Please do not use the kneelers. Sit or stand as appropriate. (This reduces both the number of surfaces potentially contaminated and time needed to clean.)
Chapel seating will be significantly reduced. We ask that it be reserved for use only by parishioners whose physical limitations make it unsafe for them to navigate the sloped flooring of the main sanctuary and families with infants and toddlers.
Because of the limited seating capacity and honoring those for whom attendance would endanger their health, we will continue to post a recording of the Mass on the parish website. We anticipate recording the Saturday Vigil Mass so that it will be available by Sunday morning.
Greeters and ushers will wear appropriate masks and gloves.
The main doors (west-facing) of the church will be the only way to enter the church. All doors will be open for exiting at the conclusion of Mass.
Clergy are restricted from physically interacting with the community by distributing Communion or by gathering before or after Masses in the usual manner.
Communion will be distributed exclusively by Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist not classified as vulnerable individuals. They will be wearing masks but not gloves; they will wash and sanitize their hands immediately prior to distributing the host.
Only the host will be distributed, the cup will not.
Communion will be distributed only in the hand. Place one hand on top of the other forming a small cup so that the Host may be gently dropped into your cupped hand to avoid hand-to-hand contact.
The collection baskets will not be passed from hand-to-hand as has been our custom. Boxes will be available at the entrance of the church for your offertory gift. You can leave your offering in the boxes either entering or exiting the church.
Altar servers, whose parents choose to allow them to serve, will be limited to one per Mass, unless servers are from the same household.
Gathering in the community center for refreshments after Mass will not be available in the initial stages of reopening.
All other parish-related, in-person, gatherings will remain suspended until a later stage of restoring activities.
Distributing song sheets and singing by the congregation is suspended in the initial phase of restoring public Masses. (Singing puts a significantly greater number of contagion droplets in the air than does speaking.)
Parish staff and volunteers will be cleaning the church, including pews and restrooms, between Masses. For Sunday morning’s 9:45 Mass we will block off pews that were used during the 7:45 Mass and open those that had been blocked off earlier.
That’s a lot of change, I know. But it is temporary, I pray. And remember, complying with common sense safety protocols is much less of a hardship than was suffered by the earliest of Christians. If you do choose to participate in our reopened Masses and you see an opportunity to reasonably increase the safety of the setting, please send your suggestion to the office; we are all in this together. So many in our community have expressed the pain of not being able to gather in this great liturgy; it is my hope that we will all do our part to make a return to public celebration be at reduced risk.
Fr. Chris Orndorff
Corpus Christi Catholic Church / 300 N Tanque Verde Loop Road / Tucson, AZ 85748 / 520-751-4235