Since our churches have reopened for daily and weekend Masses, we have seen a steady increase in attendance. We are all yearning for the Lord during these trying times. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. While it is so good to see so many of you back at Mass, I remind you that Archbishop Blair has dispensed all Catholics of attending Sunday Mass. This dispensation was to end on September 6th, but
due to the ongoing Pandemic, this dispensation has been extended to the end of the liturgical year, which is November 28th.
While the dispensation is extended to November 28th for all Catholics, it is especially for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. If you do plan to attend Mass I remind you that you must sign up each week online (click HERE to register for Mass) or call the rectory office (860-688-4905) on Tuesdays.
To St. Damien of Molokai Parishioners
From Parish Council, Parish Vision Team and Merger and Transition Team
We are writing this letter as fellow parishioners and members of Parish ministries to let you know about all of the work that has been done to support opening the churches for Masses as well as providing you with updates about our Parish of Saint Damien of Molokai.
Since the pandemic and self-quarantine began, many have received the robo-calls from Father Melnick with updates concerning the steps taken to return to Mass. Additional sources for updates are found on-line in the Parish bulletin and on the myParish app. Both sources also contain reflections from Father Melnick and Deacon Carl and provide inspirational words for all of us. If you haven’t received the robo-calls or need assistance with the website or myParish app, please contact the Rectory for assistance. (Send an email; 860-688-4905)
It was truly wonderful to once again celebrate the Eucharist on weekdays starting in June followed by weekend Masses which resumed the weekend of July 4th and 5th. Folks who were there were excited to be back and to see friends who they hadn’t seen since early March but most importantly, we were finally celebrating the Mass and receiving Holy Communion in our Parish.
We recognized that precautions must be made to safely hold and celebrate Mass. To accomplish this a small team has been working closely with Father Melnick ensuring the that we follow the guidelines established by the Archdiocese of Hartford and the State of Connecticut regarding total occupancy, social distancing and most importantly cleaning before every Mass. A team of more than twenty volunteers completes this task before every Mass to ensure everyone’s safety. We will need more volunteers as we anticipate doing this for an extended period of time. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the Rectory. (Send an email; 860-688-4905)
Each church is cleaned using a CDC approved disinfectant, by spraying all pews and surfaces that are likely to be touched during occupancy. Hand sanitizers have been placed at each entrance at both churches, and everyone is required to use them as they enter the buildings. All parishioners are required to wear masks while they are in the building and during each Eucharistic celebration.
Seating arrangements, at each church, were thoughtfully planned and mapped to accommodate the maximum number of people and still meet the guideline requirements. Parishioners are separated by six feet unless they arrive together which means they can sit together. For weekend Masses all reservations are mapped to a seating plan for each church and each Mass. When parishioners arrive, they are greeted and ushered to a designated seat location. Once again this is for parishioner safety and allows for maximum occupancy. We continue to review and evaluate our process looking for efficiencies with safety on the forefront. We ask that you please make use of the online reservations for Mass attendance or contact the Rectory during Tuesday office hours; more information may be found on the website or in the bulletin.
Our Parish is also moving forward with planned projects and improvements. At Saint Joseph Cemetery roadways were repaved, a columbarium was installed for interment of cremation urns, and an updated water system is planned. We have now received all required approvals from the Town of Windsor and the Archdiocese for the repaving of the parking lot at Saint Gabriel Church, and coordination with the construction company to commence the project is underway. Another fantastic project that has been in the works for some time is our new Welcome Ministry. With the assistance of multiple parish ministries and several parishioners, items were either handmade or procured for our Parish welcome bags which will be handed out to new parish members and families, including parishioners of St Gertrude Parish.
On September 1st, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan for Windsor will be completed and St. Gertrude parishioners will become members of Saint Damien of Molokai Parish. The Transition Team is working directly with and in support of Fr. Melnick to make this a successful transition. We are confident that our new parishioners will be welcomed with open arms and hearts, and we ask your prayers and the good Lord’s blessings for a smooth and loving transition.
Other ministries within our parish continue to schedule events with considerations and cautions given to COVID-19. Plans are underway to schedule Adoration at St. Joseph church. Once again safety and cleaning are important and is incorporated in the planning process. Volunteers are needed including Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to support the Adoration of our Lord.
We would like to thank each parishioner at St. Damien of Molokai for their prayers and support. Many parishioners have donated their time to mitigate the risks of COVID-19. With hours of planning, thoughtful consideration and coordination, we are confident our churches are clean, and our processes are stringent allowing all of us to celebrate each Mass in a safe and healthy environment. We encourage you to join us and we look forward to seeing you at Mass soon.
To register for this weekend’s Masses, click HERE.