Plans for the Resumption of Public Mass
On September 24, 2020 Governor Ned Lamont announced Phase Three of public restrictions on gatherings in the State of Connecticut, which represents a relaxation of the restrictions in place during Phase Two. Per the executive order, religious gatherings may be as large as 50% of church capacity, with a cap of 200 people. As social distancing still must be observed, our parish will gradually increase the number of people permitted to make a reservation for each Mass. Please find below the important information about Phase Three that will help you and your loved ones to know what to expect and how to prepare.
Please keep in mind that during this phase there remains no obligation to attend Mass, especially if there is a safety or health concern. Fr. Connaughton will continue to post a video of the weekend Mass on the parish website for those who decide not to attend Mass during Phase Three.
- Saturday Vigil – 4pm (St. Cecilia Church)
- Sunday – 8,10,12 (St. Cecilia Church)
- Sunday – 10 (St. Gabriel Church)
- Daily Masses – 7:30am M-F (St. Cecilia Church)
Both St. Cecilia and St. Gabriel churches are available for weddings and funeral Masses upon request.
Masses that have intentions but which are not offered publicly will be offered privately by Fr. Connaughton or Fr. Olbrys.
Reservation System – because we must configure the church seating to conform to social distancing requirements and allow for a certain number of volunteers and ministers (including the priest celebrant), all who wish to attend a particular weekend Mass must make a reservation beforehand. This is mandatory per Diocesan regulations.
- Reservations may be made in one of two ways:
- Parish Website (https://stcecilia-stgabriel.org/) – this is the preferred method. Our home page provides a link that allows people to reserve a place at parish Masses. Reservations may be made online from Sunday afternoon through Saturday at 2pm. Reservations cannot be made outside of that time period.
- Parish Office (203 322-1562) – if you do not have easy access to the internet, you may contact the parish office during business hours, Tues-Fri, 9am-4pm to make a reservation on the phone.
- Reservations are not required for daily Mass.
What to Expect
Arrival – Those attending a particular weekend Mass at St. Cecilia Church may enter the building through one of two entrances: 1) the main entrance by Newfield Avenue, and 2) the southwestern entrance on the corner closest to the school building. For Masses at St. Gabriel’s, the faithful will use the main entrance. Upon entering either church, a volunteer will confirm your registration and you will have an opportunity to make a donation. You may also make a donation online or in the mail. From there, volunteers will help you find a seat, which will be based on need to maintain proper social distancing. We hope you understand that we cannot guarantee that you will be seated in your preferred section. Members of households may sit together and need not observe the social distancing otherwise required.
Masks – Per diocesan regulations, all members of the congregation must wear masks from the time they leave their cars in the parking lot until they return to their cars at the end of Mass, except for the reception of Communion. Parents will decide if their small children should wear masks, and those who claim an exemption for legitimate health reasons that don’t pose a risk to others, may forego wearing a mask. The parish will not provide masks to the faithful, so please come prepared. Please note that those who do not wear a mask during liturgies must be prepared to provide medical proof that they have a medical condition that prohibits them from wearing a mask, per Governor Lamont’s executive order.
Restrooms – In case of emergency, the handicap restroom in the vestibule of St. Cecilia Church building will be available for use during Masses. This is the only restroom that will be available in that church, since the sanitization requirements due to the pandemic are extensive. There will be instructions posted in the restroom that indicate how to minimize potential exposure to viruses while using the facilities.
Music – because singing expels significantly more aerosolized particles of virus than speaking, the Diocese has mandated that congregational singing by the assembly is suspended until further notice. There will be a cantor, accompanied by our Director of Music, who will provide the music for the liturgies.
Worship Aids – to reduce the possibility of the spread of the virus, the Diocese has mandated the removal of missalettes, hymnals, and response cards from the pews. For those who want to have access to the readings and prayers for Mass, it is recommended that they obtain a personal Daily Roman Missal or subscribe to a publication such as Magnificat. You may also download iBreviary on your phone or tablet to prepare the readings for Mass beforehand.
Communion – All those who approach to receive Communion must maintain 6ft of distance from the person ahead of them and behind (unless they are from the same family) at all times.
- While approaching to receive Communion the faithful must be wearing masks.
- Reception on the hand is strongly encouraged, but those who wish to receive on the tongue may do so. If you choose to wear gloves during Mass you must either receive the Eucharist on the tongue or remove your gloves before receiving the Eucharist on the hand. The priest will not place the Host on a gloved hand.
- You must remove your mask to consume the Eucharist. Thus, it is very important to be extremely careful with the Blessed Sacrament to avoid dropping it or treating it with a lack of reverence.
- If you are physically unable to leave your place to receive Communion, please let one of the volunteers know and the priest will come to you.
- Please know that the priest will have a bowl of disinfectant (alcohol antiseptic 80%) next to him during the distribution of the Eucharist, which he will use if he makes contact with a person receiving the Eucharist before offering the Eucharist to the next person in line.
Departure – At the end of the Masses at St. Cecilia Church, members of the congregation may leave from any of the 5 exits of the church building, maintaining 6’ of social distancing at all times. At St. Gabriel Church, members of the congregation may leave from the main exit, but also the side exit leading to the parking lot.
The church will be sanitized between all Masses according to Diocesan requirements.