A Message from Our Pastor
The most common question I have received for weeks is, “Father, when will the church be opened?” I understand the question, but the truth is that buildings are not what make the church, rather people do. The real question is when will we be allowed to resume the sacramental life of the church? There are three things which we need to do to make this happen. The bishop has said it may be as early as June 3rd, but only if the three tasks have been completed and a fourth begun.
First, we need a plan approved which meets the state, county, city and diocesan requirements. These will need to be posted on the church entrances and followed.
Second, we will need a Sunday church sanitizing team to prepare the church for the next mass. I am hopeful we can find volunteers who are willing to commit to a morning mass for this task… and hopefully to have a team for each mass.
Third, ushers, sacristans and eucharistic ministers will need special updated training to help apply our approved plan. Some of our liturgical ministers do have health concerns and pre-existing conditions which may require them to step back. We will do what we have to do. We need people in good health, and willing spirits to be available to fulfill these responsibilities. I am most concerned about eucharistic ministers as they and the ushers have significant, and essential roles to play in interacting with the faithful. We need the names and contact information for the qualified and willing. (Please Roxanne at the office.) God will provide… but if you are a confirmed, practicing catholic… listen, as He may be calling you.
Fourth, we will need to educated our St. Jerome community. We will do our best to help prepare you for our upcoming opportunities for prayer and sacrament.
These need to happen BEFORE public masses resume here at St. Jerome. In theory, if everything goes perfectly (Does it ever?) could be done by June 3rd. But June 14th, Body and Blood of Christ Sunday is a more realistic goal to meet requirements, assemble the ministers and provide the necessary training.
Our Sunday Mass schedule will need to be adjusted to allow for cleaning the church after each mass. We are considering having masses at 7am, 9am, 11am and 5:30pm (parking-lot). Availability of priests is also a contributing factor so stay tuned.
California is putting a maximum capacity of 100 people including ministers and priests. Because of this limitation, the obligation to attend Sunday mass will continue to be dispensed. This is a blessing as people have the choice to attend or not. Alleluia! Our church can seat well over 1200 so we easily have the space to keep appropriate distancing. Books and papers will be removed from pews. Each mass will have a worship aid that we ask you to take with you.
For those more at risk I would suggest attending the Sunday evening 5:30pm parking-lot mass. You won't need to leave your car. Exposure to others will be minimal. You can mask if you like. Also, the sunlight UV-rays quickly destroy Covid-19. Our afternoon breeze makes even hot days pleasant. If you wish to receive communion, I will bring it to you in your car. We don't need to worry about the 100 person limit as this is an outdoor gathering... and we have parking for over 250 cars.
The Archbishop of Los Angeles wants our diocese to be leading, and setting prudent and practical example which is relatively safe and allows for the faithful to be fed and led.
By the way, the church was never closed. When two or three are gathered in Jesus' name the church is active and alive. Buildings to do this are nice. Places where the Blessed Sacrament and Sacred Oils are ready and available for use is important. A place where people can be baptized is essential. Yet even though these locations are good to have, it is the heart of Christians which remains the most important dwelling place for God.
Buildings on this earth come and go. After all, St. Jerome's first regular meeting place was a theater. Then it was in what we now call our gym. Then the softball field was sacrificed to be our current gathering place. But even if not a stone was left upon a stone, the church could still gather... in our domestic church at our homes, with a couple of close friends praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet or spending time in adoration with the real presence of our Lord in our parking-lot or in doing service for others.
Everything comes with some risk: getting in a car, taking medicine, getting out of bed, choosing a partner for marriage or eating Fr. Bill's cooking. Some risks are reasonable. (Don't eat Fr. Bill's cooking or jump out of a plane without a parachute.) And if Moses waited until their was no risk in crossing the Red Sea... the Jewish people would still be slaves in Egypt.
Please use wisdom and good sense. If you have conditions such as diabetes, or other pre-existing conditions, please do not put yourself at risk by volunteering. More details will follow. Thank you for your support and prayers..