Sunday Feedback & Funerals
Thanks to everyone who adjusted their strategy. We did not reach capacity at the 10 AM Mass. The 6 PM, 8 AM, and 10 AM Masses were all about 3/4ths full. The 12 Noon Mass was half full but had more people than the 8 AM Mass. That's because we had more families of three or more attend. While we had more people attend this third weekend, the increase was small enough that I think we'll be ok next weekend too.
Because Sunday Masses now seem stable, we're able to invite Msgr. Rusconi to help out. Please follow the rules and use your reason so that we can continue to have him help us. I want to keep him and all of you safe.
I kept my homily short. And we're all more familiar with the new routine. So, the 8 AM Mass was less than 40 minutes. The other Masses may have been less than 45 minutes. I'm not trying to go fast, but I am trying to minimize your time inside in order to reduce your risk.
Because of the pandemic, we are finding funerals to be much more difficult than we anticipated. As such, we've been adapting. We also have lots of ideas about how to make funerals better at this difficult time.
Until we stabilize funerals, we are limiting funerals to one per day, any day of the week except Sunday and Thursday.
We have twice as many volunteers helping because of the need to direct people to their seats.
I have corresponded with Msgr. Gervasio, our vicar general. I've talked with Bishop O'Connell and Deacon David O'Connor, Director of Diocesan Cemeteries. They all have provided valuable advice.
I plan to have an on-line meeting with our funeral people later this week. Before then, we'll be assembling ideas via e-mail.
Request for More Funeral Volunteers
Since we've been having so many funerals lately, I'd like to find one or two more people who can talk with the family on the phone in order to pick readings and hymns. The funeral planner will also communicate with the family about what to expect at St. John's. Normally, the funeral planner also attends the funeral to help out. Charlie or Jean will train you.
We're looking for several more volunteers to help as ushers, greeters, altar servers, and digital ushers. Most volunteers will help direct people to where they can sit. One will act as the altar server and carry the cross. Since the altar server can't come up into the sanctuary, he or she doesn't have a lot more to do. So, the altar server will often double as the digital usher, the one who controls the livestreaming camera.
Until now, I haven't asked the volunteers to disinfect the church. However, if the volunteers are willing to do so, it'd be a great help. You will have seen where people sit and will know what needs to be disinfected.
Can We Reduce the Need for Funerals?
I'm concerned about all of these recent funerals, most from the Renaissance. As far as I know, COVID-19 was not the cause for any of them. While I'll continue to alert of all you to the dangers of the coronavirus, I just want to remind you that there are many other dangers to one's health and life. I've heard that Manchester police have responded to a lot more DOAs than usual. They suspect that people are afraid to go to the hospital. If you have any strange symptoms, please contact your doctor or call 911. We have a responsibility to care for our health. Hospitals seem a lot safer now. My sister tells me that her hospital has very few COVID-19 patients.
Please continue to pray for one another. Reach out to neighbors, friends, and family by telephone to encourage them.
God love you,
Fr. Jim O'Neill
on Monday, June 29 at 3:40PM