COVID 19 RESPONSE

PARISH EVENTS AND SERVICES DURING COVID 19 RESPONSE

Out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to protect the most vulnerable among us from the Covid 19 Virus, Bishop DiMarzio has dispensed the faithful from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice and has prohibited the celebration of Mass publicly.

However, parish life at Sacred Hearts-St. Stephen Parish has changed, not ended, in order to ensure the safety and well being of all, most especially the most vulnerable in our parish.

Guidelines for attending Mass starting June 29th 
The following has been provided by the Diocese of Brooklyn as requirements for the opening of our parish for public celebration of Mass. 

During Mass all guidelines established for visiting the Church must be maintained to ensure social distancing and not exceed the 25% capacity.At Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen the maximum capacity for the church is now 50 people.

Anyone entering the church must wear a face mask, use the hand sanitizing stations upon entering and wipe down their pew with the provided wipes before leaving.

All ministers for the Mass (celebrant, server, lector) must sanitize their hands before Mass begins.

What Mass will look like: 

There will be no entrance procession for all Masses, Sunday and weekday.

There will be no missals or worship aids available. Parishioners are encouraged to bring their own form home or use their smartphones.

There will be no exchange of peace and no holding of hands at the Lord’s Prayer.

There will be no offertory collection. Parishioners are to be encouraged strongly to use e-giving services at Givecentral.org/shss or leave their donation in the offering Box at the entrance of the church in the center with the white cross on it.

People should come for Communion in the normal way, observing at least 6 feet of distance between
them as they approach.

At Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen Church the faithful will only be able to receive Holy Communion in the hand.

The communicant should come before the Minister of Communion with the mask
on for the dialogue (“The Body of Christ. Amen.”) and then, moving to the side, lower the mask
and consume the Eucharist and replace the mask.

Holy Communion will be distributed by the celebrant and con-celebrating priests.  The Host will be allowed to “fall” (reverently) into the communicant’s hand to avoid any physical contact. The hands should be disinfected before distribution of Holy Communion. Hand disinfectant should be available nearby those distributing Holy Communion.

When the communicants receive the Sacred Host, they should move to the side and consume It
immediately.

The Precious Blood is not to be distributed to the faithful.

There is to be no recessional procession. There should be no stopping to greet parishioners as they
depart the church.

The Priest cannot greet people at the doors before of after Mass and those attending Mass should not congregate inside the church before or after Mass in order to observe social distancing practices.

Lectors, Servers, Choir Members and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion:

For the daily celebration of Mass, please limit the number of ministers for Mass. There should be only
one (1) lector and no altar servers.

Music ministry should be limited to the organist and a cantor using social distancing. The cantor should
not sing from the same place from which the lector reads. Choirs should not be used at this time since
social distancing will be impossible for them.

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should only be used if there are not enough priests in the parish to assist.

If Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are used, they must be diligently instructed on the
procedures for giving Communion to the faithful. They must follow the same guidelines the priests and
deacons will follow.

 

Parish Cleaning

All parish facilities of Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen Parish have been professional cleaned and the floors have been resurfaced. This includes: The Main Church, Chapel, Cabrini Hall, Rectory Hall & Rectory offices/common spaces.

 

Ways to Continue to Stay Connected

If you do not currently receive our monthly parish e-mails, please sign up for our e-newsletter on the parish homepage (HERE). This will allow us the ability to communicate with you.

If you are on Facebook, please “Like” the Sacred Hearts & St. Stephen Catholic Church public page (HERE) and also join the Sacred Hearts-St. Stephen Parish Brooklyn group (HERE). This will allow you to view Facebook live Masses and Services as well receive messages and updates.

 

Virtually Attending Mass & Services

All weekday Masses (Monday – Saturday) will continue to be celebrated at 8:30 AM and streamed Live for everyone to attend virtually on our Facebook pages.

Sunday 10 AM Mass will continue to be streamed Live for everyone to attend virtually on our Facebook pages.

The Rosary will be prayed every Thursday at 7 PM live on Facebook from the Church for all to participate in. Follow along with the text (Here).

 

Funeral Services will be permitted but are to be strictly limited to 50 people. Persons attending the funeral must be seated using social distancing norms (Six [6] feet apart) and everyone must wear a mask or face covering. Funerals will  begin with the casket in place in front of the altar with the family seated. There is no procession into or out of the church. No worship aids or memorial booklets can be distributed or used in the church.

Baptisms can take place with social distancing guidelines being enforced and limited to 50 or fewer participants. The water will be changed for each baptism.

Weddings take place with social distancing guidelines being enforced and limited to 50 or fewer participants.

Anointings will be celebrated with the usual safety measures in place. Priests will wear mask and gloves and the anointing will take place with the use of a cotton ball which is to be reverently disposed of after each anointing. Any guidelines that are in place in hospitals or other institutions must be respected. There can be no celebrations of communal anointings in church.

Confessions will take place with the priest and penitent both wearing masks and remaining at least six (6) feet distant from one another. Appointments must be made of confession to assure that no lines or groups form. You may call the rectory and make an appointment with Msgr. Massie directly at 718-596-7750. Please note that Confessions may take place in the church yard at the rear of the rectory or some other agreed upon large private space which allows the 6 foot separation.

 

Church Office Hours

The Diocese of Brooklyn has asked that all Rectory offices be re-opened with 50% of staff . You may always call the rectory at 718-596-7750 or email info@sacredhearts-ststephen.com if you would like to speak to a priest or need help.

 

Financial Stewardship

For those who are financially able to continue to support the parish during this time we encourage you to sign up for e-giving (HERE) so that we may be able to continue the ministry of the church during this critical time.

Parish Religious Education and Catholic Schools

Regular parish CCD classes held on Sundays and Wednesdays are postponed for the time being.  Likewise, all activities related to our children’s faith-formation program such as the Sunday 7th grade seminar, Stations of the Cross practices, Confirmation mentoring sessions, and Child Lures training are also postponed for the time being.

 

What to do when entering the Church for Private Prayer or Mass 

When will the Church be open?
The Church continues to be open for private prayer everyday, Monday – Sunday from 12 Noon till 2 PM (2 Hours) & During the celebration of Mass starting June 29th.

How many people are allowed inside the church at the same time?
Only 50 people can be in the church at the same time…if you arrive at the church and there are already 50 people inside please wait outside until someone leaves to enter.

Must I wear a mask in order to enter the church?
Yes. Please bring your own mask from home, masks are not available for you at the church.

Must I disinfect my hands upon entering the church?
Yes. Hand-sanitizer dispensers will be available to you as you enter the church. Please disinfect your hands before and after entering the church.

Where can I sit while I am in the church praying?
You may sit in one of the pews that is not tied off with a yellow rope but only in the spots marked with the blue cross.

Should I wipe down the area where I was sitting before I leave the church?
Yes. Sanitizing wipes will be available to you as you enter the church. You should take one upon entering the church so that you can use it to clean the areas you have touched in the church before you leave. Please only use the wipes provided by the church so as not to damage any o the wood or delicate surfaces in the church accidentally.

May I light a candle while at the church? 
No. While annual memorial candles are lit and candle stands are on, the touching of these stands would only help spread Covid-19 potentially. Therefore, the Candle Stands and the statues in the church are roped off from people.

I am not sure if I should come to the church…who should not come? 
The elderly and all who are health-compromised are advised to stay home. Anyone who feels sick in any way must stay home. Parishioners should take their temperature before leaving their home and should stay home if the temperature is over 100 degrees.

If I need to use the restroom while I am visiting the church or at mass will it be open?
No. We are fortunate to live in an urban community where we most can walk from their home to the church. Since we do not have a maintenance staff we are currently unable to ensure that the restroom will be cleaned each time it is used.

Can I get a bulletin while at church?
No, no paper handouts or booklets will be available at the church. you may access the weekly bulletin on our website at http://sacredhearts-ststephen.com/category/bulletins/

Will I be able to bless myself with Holy Water upon entering the Church? 
No. In order prevent the potential spread of Covid-19 all Holy Water fonts are empty at this time. The faithful should still bless themselves upon entering the church acknowledging the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

 

The health of all the faithful of our parish is of utmost concern, so let us continue to pray to the Lord Who is a healer to protect us and bring about quickly an end to this present crisis through the intercession of His Mother Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe.