My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Christ is risen! Alleluia! He is truly risen. Alleluia!
Even during this most trying time, we continue to proclaim the power of God’s love for us in Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I would like to thank you again for your countless prayers and wonderful support during these days. Please be assured of my continued prayers and the prayers of the clergy and staff of the parish for you and your families. With Governor Abbott’s Executive Order on April 28 re-opening Texas, we enter into a new period in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Cardinal DiNardo has also given instructions in how the Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are to proceed.
After consulting with our parish staff and our Pastoral Council, I am pleased to announce that we will begin the process of re-opening our beloved parish and resuming the public celebration of the sacraments. This is NOT going to be all at once. It is going to take time and will be in phases. We are limited and restricted by numerous factors in trying to serve the needs of our many parishioners during this time. There are physical limitations in addition to the guidelines and timelines established by the civil authorities and by our archbishop. It is important to remember that these guidelines are intended for the health and safety of all. Not every parish is in the same situation. We are not all able to do all of the same things at the same time. Patience and understanding are required.
In compliance with Governor Abbott’s order and Cardinal DiNardo’s instruction, St. John Vianney Parish will once again be open beginning Monday, May 4, 2020.
- The Adoration Chapel will continue to remain open 24/7.
- The church and the chapel will continue to be open from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm.
- Regular office hours will resume May 4, (Mon – Fri 8:30 am – 5:00 pm).
- Weekday Masses will resume on Monday, May 4, 2020.
- Weekday Masses will follow the Lenten schedule (Mon – Fri 9:00 am, 12:10 pm, 7:00 pm) through the month of May.
- Confessions will be heard 20 minutes preceding the weekday Masses and on Saturdays at 10:00 am and 4:00 pm in the Cry Rooms.
- All Masses will be held in the Church.
- Social distancing is to be observed (6 ft separation for non-family members).
- Every other pew will be roped off.
- During Phase I there is a maximum limit of 25% of capacity (400 persons).
- During Phase II there is a maximum limit of 50% of capacity (800 persons).
- Regular Sunday Masses at SJV will resume in Phase II of the Governor’s guidelines.
- The obligation to attend Sunday Mass is temporarily dispensed, there is no sin in missing Mass on Sunday although we are to keep the Lord’s Day holy.
- People who can, are encouraged to attend a weekday mass instead of on Sunday until we can have full use of the church.
- Per the Cardinal’s directive, only priests may distribute Holy Communion.
- There is to be no passing of the offertory baskets. People are asked to place their offerings in the baskets before or after Mass or use electronic giving or mail them to the parish.
- Those in “at risk” categories are encouraged to remain at home until it is safe.
- All those who are ill are asked to stay home until they are well.
- All are asked to follow health protocols.
- Baptisms and weddings will resume on May 9.
- Funerals will resume on May 4.
- All appropriate protocols are to be followed for weddings, baptisms and funerals.
- Eucharistic Adoration will continue as is with the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.
- Liturgy of the Hours and the Novena of Our Mother of Perpetual Help may resume in the chapel after May 4.
Due to the size of our parish (15,000 people), it is not feasible to re-open for Sunday Masses prior to the completion of Phase I. Were we to do so, we would be turning away more people than could possibly attend. This will be a challenge even during Phase II as most of our regular Sunday Masses are usually at or near capacity (1600 persons). While I would very much desire to return our normal routine immediately, for the health and safety of our parishioners, it is best to be prudent and follow the guidelines. During this time when we cannot accommodate all of the people who regularly attend our Sunday Masses, I would like to strongly encourage you and your family to attend one of the 15 weekday Masses.
We are all aware of the immense stress, pain, anger, fear and anxiety that so many people have suffered. Being deprived of the greatest resource that we possess, the sacraments, has been a hardship that is beyond description for many. This is only the beginning of our road back. It is not going to happen as fast or as complete as any of us would like. However this is also a time of opportunity. It is a time to grow in our faith, to give witness to our faith and to share our faith. The cross of Jesus is and remains our only hope! It is the cross of Jesus that has saved us. As Catholics, we live in the sure and certain faith that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Rm 8:39
In pace Christi,