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.

Due to the restrictions placed on the gathering of people, including the public celebration of Mass, the following accommodation have been made so that the faithful may continue to live in the life of the Church trusting in the Lord and asking for His blessings and mercy:

Parish Cleaning

  1. 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 Stay Connected

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Msgr. Massie will be posting reflections on the readings of the day on Facebook.

 

Attending Mass & Services

5. All Masses (Weekday & Sunday) will be celebrated for the scheduled intentions starting Monday, March 16, 2020 privately without the public in the Church.

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

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

8. 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).

9. Out of an abundance of caution especially the most vulnerable, Funerals and weddings will not be permitted in church by order of the Diocese of Brooklyn. This is because limiting the funerals and weddings to 10 people is proving not to be feasible. If absolutely necessary, a graveside service, maintaining the recommendations of the CDC regarding social distancing, could be done, at the discretion of the cemetery administration. A memorial Mass for the deceased should be celebrated later.

Church Office Hours

10. The Diocese of Brooklyn has mandated that all Rectory offices be closed for regular business until further notice. 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.

Those without Internet Access

11. Since not all have the ability to access the internet, Msgr. Massie will be calling parishioners to check in on them throughout the week. He will begin with those who may not have internet access, the elderly and those who usually attend weekday Mass. If you know someone who would like a call from Msgr. Massie and is not able to connect with the parish online please email their name and phone number to info@sacredhearts-ststephen.com and Msgr. Massie will contact them.

Financial Stewardship

12. 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

13. 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.

14. The elementary Catholic Academies and Parish Schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn were closed starting, Monday, March 16 until further notice. Diocese of Brooklyn’s Academies and Schools have access to online learning during this time.

15. Reopening Phase 1 

When will the Church be open?
Beginning May 26th, everyday, Monday – Sunday from 12 Noon till 2 PM (2 Hours)

Will Mass, Services, Rosaries or Adoration be happening while the church is open?
No. For the safety of the faithful no services which would call people o gather can be organized.  

How many people are allowed inside the church at the same time?
Only 10 people can be in the church at the same time…if you arrive at the church and there are already 10 people inside please wait outside until someone leaves to enter. 

How can I help with re-opening the church?
We need one person to sign up as a greeter for each day of the week who is willing to help monitor the number of people n the church and make sure everyone is following the simple rules while they are there. If you can volunteer for one day (2 hours please e-mail info@sacredhearts-ststephen.com with your name ad either the date or the day of the week you are available. 

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 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.

Funeral Services will be permitted but are to be strictly limited to 10 people. The funeral service will not be a Mass and will not include the distribution of Holy Communion or any Songs/Hymns. The Service will include prayers, readings, a homily and a blessing.  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 10 or fewer participants. The water will be changed for each baptism.

Weddings take place with social distancing guidelines being enforced and limited to 10 or fewer participants. Weddings can only be celebrated during a ceremony and not within a Mass.

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.

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.