Dear Friends in Christ,
Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever! Amen.
On Monday, May 18, Governor Greg Abbott initiated Phase II of the Open Texas recovery plan. As part of Phase II, churches and places of worship may have occupancy up to 50% of capacity. This now allows for up to 800 people per Mass at St. John Vianney Parish.
Beginning this weekend, May 23/24, we will resume our regular weekend Mass schedule.
The Directives require that non-household members maintain the practice of social distancing of six feet (two empty seats). Further, there will be no offertory collection taken. Instead, baskets will be at the entrance doors of the church. Parishioners are encouraged to give electronically, mail or drop off your envelope to the parish office. For information on WeShare and other electronic giving options please see our parish website or contact our parish offices. As a safety precaution Holy Communion will continue to be distributed only by the priests. The governor’s Directives ask that people consider wearing masks while at Church and our bishop, Cardinal DiNardo, has asked that people receive Holy Communion in the hand. We have taken the additional step of applying an antimicrobial barrier to all of our surfaces (pews, doors, missals, floors etc.) for the safety of our parishioners. We ask that those attending Mass please continue to follow the appropriate health protocols.
Those who are in “at risk” groups (those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions) are encouraged to refrain from Mass attendance at this time. Also, if being with a large number of people during this time is a cause for concern, it is best to refrain from Mass attendance at this time as well. Those who are ill should not come to Mass.
We will continue through the end of May to offer weekday Mass and Confessions three times per day (9:00 am, 12:10 pm and 7:00 pm). For those who may feel uncomfortable coming to Sunday Mass at this time, they may consider attending one of the 15 weekday Masses instead.
On Saturday, May 30, at the 5:30 pm Mass for the Vigil of Pentecost and, at the 12:30 pm on Pentecost Sunday, we will receive into the Catholic faith the candidates and catechumens in the RCIA and RCIC. These Masses will be longer than a normal Mass. Please remember to pray in thanksgiving for these soon–to–be new Catholics! Beginning now at the weekday Masses and in June at the weekend Masses, we will have nearly 250 of our children receiving their First Holy Communion. We rejoice for them and with their families.
While we still are unable to open up our Social Services Ministries due to so many of our volunteers being in the “at risk” groups, we will hold a Drive-by Food Drive on Saturday, May 30, in the Church parking lot to support other food pantries that are in need. For details please refer to the parish Bulletin and the website.
Our Summer Youth Program (Camp SJV) is set to proceed as scheduled. For the safety of our children and families every effort is being taken to ensure compliance with the State of Texas norms. For questions or details please contact our Parish Life Office.
Like all families our parish family has also had to adapt and deal with the many changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. While everyone desires to get back to normal it is important that we remember that this is not over yet! As with every household, business and organization, our parish is continuing to try to do our best in dealing with the uncertainty, the sometimes conflicting and changing directives, and the great disturbances to our daily activities, schedules, and routines. Patience, flexibility, and understanding are still very much required. Our parish has also had to face financial realities. At the onset of this emergency we dramatically cut our expenses and prioritized our bills to avoid a financial catastrophe. While we have been blessed not to have had to lay off any of our full time staff, we continue to rely on the generous and sacrificial financial support of our parishioners. Thank you to all who have been so generous and supportive during this time.
There are positive signs that the overall situation is improving throughout the United States and here in Texas. For this, we offer our heartfelt thanks to God and ask for His continued graces and protection. However, it is imperative to remember that we are very likely to be dealing with aspects of this pandemic for some time to come and that situations and conditions can and may change. If they do, we will respond accordingly.
Lastly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your continued patience, cooperation, and understanding. Above all, I am most especially grateful for your prayers and the great example of your faith during this time. I know this has not been easy for any of us but with God’s grace we have continued to move forward in faith. We remember and recall St. Paul’s words to the Philippians, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!” ~Phil 4:6-7
In pace Christi,