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Public Mass Guidelines

Resumption of Public Masses - May 30th

We urge every parishioner to become aware of these instructions before attending mass at St. James. Updated May 24th.

The Diocese has issued instructions regarding the policies and procedures to be put into place when public Masses resume.  Those Liturgical Guidelines as of April 30 can be see in their entirety here. St James is committed to following this guidance from the Diocese.  Below are rules from the Diocesan policy and how St. James will implement them.

We are limited to a TOTAL OF 120 People inside of our church at any one time. We are considering the best ways to ensure this while ruffling as few feathers as we can.

Please note that it is REQUIRED that everyone attending Mass must be wearing a mask.

  • All four area diocesan bishops have dispensed the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and from the Easter Duty. Therefore,
    1. Those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to another with the virus within 14 days are not permitted to enter the church, in accordance with national, state and local health directives. All attendees are asked to check their temperature at home before coming to church.
    2. Those who are at risk because of an underlying health issue or who are 60 or older are strongly encouraged, for their own health, to avoid the risk of attending public celebrations of the Mass.
    3. If you have small children for whom wearing a mask for extended periods of time is a concern then you may wish to refrain from attending or make other arrangements for the care of your children.
    4. Remember during phase one of this process we have been reduced to 10% of capacity. We don't want to turn people away but we cannot allow any more than 120 faithful into the church.
    5. St. James will continue to live stream the Mass for the foreseeable future and we urge those at risk to take advantage of this.
  • The South entrance will not be open.  Please enter through the main entrance only.  The lower level (parish hall) will not be open therefore there will be no parking in the back of church.
  • When you arrive DO NOT PARK but rather drive to the front of church around the fountain.  There you will be greeted and we will count the number of occupants in your vehicle. Once that is done you are free to park in the designated parking lot.
  • If you arrive early and the doors of the church are not yet open, we ask that you remain in your vehicle until the doors open.  (The doors open 30 minutes prior to the start of Mass).
  • So that we can have an accurate count we will keep the parking lots closed until 60 minutes prior to the start of mass.
  • Be sure to bring your masks with you and be prepared to wear them as you enter the church.
  • At this time we are limited to 120 people attending Mass at one time.
  • The Diocese has stated that we are not permitted to exceed our capacity if it violates the distancing standards. Clay County mandates that capacity is 10% of the building occupancy; in our case, 10% of 1,200 people, or 120. Therefore we would have no choice but to not allow people to come in once we have reached our limited capacity.
  • We will count the number of occupants in the cars as they arrive.  Once we have reached the maximum we ask that you drive away.
  • We will not have the parish hall open for crowd overflow.
  • We will not show the Mass in other locations on the campus.
  • We cannot allow the faithful into the sanctuary to receive Holy Communion only and then leave.
  • The doors of the church will be closed once Mass begins.  Once closed they will lock automatically. Please do not knock on the doors.
  • We will continue to live stream 8 AM Mass.  No other masses will be live streamed.
  • One of the biggest challenges for us is to ensure that physical distancing is maintained in our seating arrangements.
  • Enter the church through the front doors only. The sanctuary will not be accessible through the door at the the back of the church.
  • When you enter the church, please observe social distancing and do not stop to have a conversation with others.   Do not crowd or bunch up please.
  • As you enter the main sanctuary please wait for an ushers to show you to your seat.  DO NOT SEAT YOURSELF.
  • To ensure the proper distancing many of the pews will not be available and have been taped off.   Do not remove any tape.  Upon entering your pew please leave six feet of open space between you and any other family in your pew.
  • While at your pew you may remove your mask.  Have it on any time you leave your pew including for the communion procession.
  • When you leave the church at the end of mass, please remember to keep six foot distancing between yourself and other families.  We will not be having the ushers dismiss each row.
  • We will have one communion minister distributing the Body of Christ.
  • We will use the center aisle going to communion and the side aisles for returning to our pews.
  • Ushers who are masked and gloved will ensure six foot distancing in the communion line.
  • Floor markings will be placed six feet apart on the aisle approaching the sanctuary for communion. Please maintain the distancing when you return to your pew.
  • Holy Communion will be distributed in the hand only.
  • Those who refrain from receiving communion still unite themselves with the sacrifice of Christ.  Non-communicants are kindly asked to accompany their loved ones during the reception of communion and step to the side when the Blessed Sacrament is being given.
  • When approaching the Communion minister bow your head and then step forward with your mask on, say "Amen" clearly. Extend your hands, palms up, one hand cupped below your dominant hand. Receive the Host, then use your non-dominant hand to pull your mask down to your chin. Consume the host and Immediately pull your mask back up. 
  • Return to your pew by the side aisle.
  • Appropriate cleaning of high use areas within the church will take place before each service.
  • The pews utilized by the assembly will be thoroughly sanitized.
  • Holy water fonts will remain empty until further notice.
  • Entry doors will be propped open before and after Mass.
  • Our Offertory Procession is suspended.
  • Stationary Collection baskets will be available in the gathering space to collect envelopes or donations.
  • The sign of peace is optional. If it is offered, there is to be no physical contact. A simple gesture, such as a nod of the head, is recommended.
  • There will not a paper bulletin.  All are encouraged to read the online version of the bulletins.
  • In order to sanitize properly we ask that you leave the building after Mass concludes as quickly as you can.
  1. Decide if it is too risky for you to attend. Please err on the side of caution.
  2. Wear a mask.
  3. Arrive no earlier than one hour prior to mass.
  4. Pull into the circular drive to check in. Park and enter church when doors open.
  5. Do not bunch up, maintain six feet distancing from other families.
  6. Avoid contact with non-family members.
  7. Go as far into the pew as safety permits.  Do not sit at the near end of a pew if there is more space.  We cannot have people "scoot past"  you.
  8. During the Mass:
    1. Mask can be lowered if not moving inside the church.
    2. Raise mask when going to Communion.  Lower it briefly to place the Body of Christ in your mouth.
    3. Non-Communicants please go to the altar to receive a blessing. This avoids people having to "scoot past you".
  9. Respect social distance when leaving the church.
  10. Avoid crowds at end of mass, go directly to your vehicle please.

If you are not fortunate enough to be allowed into mass we sincerely wish this were not the case.  Perhaps you can say a prayer that the Lord will grant you patience.  Please do not remain in your cars in the parking lot.

Please know that this whole process is new to everyone, including the staff and volunteers at St. James.  We may have to make changes to these policies, once they are put into practice.  We appreciate your understanding.

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Pentecost Sunday – May 31, 2020

Pentecost Sunday - May 31, 2020

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