Updated December 6, 2020 at 7:30 PM
Dear Friends of St. Mary’s and Fatima Mission,
As Christmas approaches, I want to share some information with you to help you to plan. St. Mary’s Christmas Mass Schedule will be:
Christmas Eve: 3:00, 5:30 and 8:00 pm; Christmas Day: 7:30 am. Fatima Chapel Christmas Mass Schedule will be Christmas Day: 9:30 am.
Mass times have been set to allow a complete change over of the air circulating in the church/mission and time to sanitize the church/mission.
At this writing all CDC and Diocesan Guidelines will be in effect for Christmas: masks, social distancing, Holy Communion in the hand, no congregational singing and no gathering in the narthexes.
At both St. Mary’s and the Fatima Mission I ask parishioners to exercise prudence and charity in making the best use of pew space to accommodate the most parishioners safely. At St. Mary’s that might mean larger families sitting in the back pews which can accommodate larger numbers of those from the same household. At the Fatima Mission, larger families could sit upstairs and singles and doubles could sit downstairs to safely maximize space.
When and if the church/mission becomes filled to social distancing capacity, we will need to close doors and stop admittance. Those who are not able to be admitted and who wish to wait and pray in their cars will be invited to receive Holy Communion after Mass has concluded.
It is very important to remember that Bishop Gainer has continued the dispensation from attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (Christmas) for reasons of health and safety during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
It is also important to remember that the possibility of greater numbers attending Christmas Masses (including family members from other states on the PA Quarantine List) could pose an increased risk for those with compromised immune systems.
Bishop Gainer’s Office of Worship has offered a suggestion to those who would like to attend a Christmas Mass but who do not feel it is safe for them to do so. This year, why not consider attending a Mass within the Octave of Christmas as your Christmas Mass? Holy Mother Church celebrates the eight days after Christmas as one big Christmas celebration. Every Mass within those eight days is considered a Christmas Mass, including the Sunday, December 27th Mass of the Holy Family, as well as the 8 am morning Masses scheduled throughout the week.
2020 has presented unique challenges for our parishes. Christmas 2020 may be one of the biggest. Should there be any changes to the above information, we will let you know as best we can.
As we await the celebration of Our Lord’s Nativity, let us be informed, let us be prudent, let us be charitable.
Peace and all good,