Public Masses to resume Wednesday, May 6
Letter from Bishop Kagan
April 30, 2020
To the Catholic Faithful of the Diocese of Bismarck,
As we have been living under the restrictions to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic and especially the restrictions on our Catholic liturgical and sacramental life, it is my fervent prayer and hope that our appreciation and longing for the Most Holy Eucharist have been deepened and strengthened.
In recent days our Governor has decided to modify some of the restrictions placed upon us and listening carefully to him and in consultation with Bishop Folda, I have decided to modify some of the directives I issued for the Diocese of Bismarck on March 19, 2020 (see below). I am not lifting all restrictions, but I am modifying some for the present. What I ask is your continued patience and cooperation for your own welfare and that of others.
To this end and first, the dispensation from the obligation to attend and participate at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days remains in effect until further notice for all who may be hesitant or afraid at this time to be in larger gatherings. Parishes will continue to provide the opportunity to view Mass online.
If you or anyone in your household is sick in any way or is in one of the more vulnerable groups of persons at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19, please stay at home until such time as you or that person is able to return to Church for Mass.
However, I must emphasize this: what we have come to understand as “social distancing” must be strictly kept by all priests, deacons and lay faithful at all times in all liturgical and sacramental settings. Therefore, I make the following modifications to some of the directives of March 19, 2020.
Daily Mass may resume according to the schedule determined by the Pastor as of Wednesday, May 6, 2020. Sunday Mass may resume according to the schedule determined by the Pastor as of: 4:00 P.M. Saturday, May 9, 2020 under the following conditions:
Family households may sit together in one pew and all other persons must maintain social distancing in Church; from front to back, in every Church every other pew is to be left empty.
Holy Communion will continue to be distributed under the sacred species of the Consecrated Host only, and Holy Communion is to be received in the hand only. (UPDATE: the lay faithful are now allowed to receive Holy Communion either in the hand or on the tongue)
Only ordained clergy (priests and deacons) and canonically instituted Acolytes are to distribute Holy Communion, no Extra-ordinary ministers are to distribute until further notice. Social distancing is to be maintained by the faithful as they receive Holy Communion.
The exchange of the Sign of Peace remains suspended.
There is to be no Offertory procession to present the gifts for Mass until further notice.
If the Pastor has accompaniment for Mass, only a cantor and a musician are to be present and there is to be no Choir.
The directives for weddings and funerals are modified as follows:
For weddings all immediate and extended family members of the Bride and Groom may be present but are to maintain social distancing. The restrictions on the wedding party itself and the priest/deacon remain unchanged.
For funerals, all immediate and extended family members may attend but are to maintain social distancing. The directives for the Wake and Vigil Service and luncheon after the funeral at the Church remain unchanged.
The directives for the Sacrament of Baptism are modified as follows:
For Baptisms, all immediate and extended family members may be present but are to maintain social distancing. No more than one person may be baptized in any given ceremony until further notice.
As mentioned, all other directives given on March 19, 2020 (see below) remain in effect until further notice. Let us continue to pray daily for the powerful intercessions of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and Saint Joseph before Almighty God, seeking His mercy upon each of us and all of us.
Know that I pray daily for all of you and asking your kind prayers for our priests and deacons, may we increase in virtue and holiness of life for the greater honor and glory of God!
The Most Reverend David D. Kagan
Bishop of Bismarck
Mr. Dale Eberle
Letter from Msgr. Richter
Feast of St. Joseph, the Worker
May 1, 2020
I pray that you and your loved ones are well.
On April 30th, Bishop Kagan issued a letter stating that he has given us permission to resume public Masses in the Diocese of Bismarck, beginning on Wednesday, May 6th. That is good news! However, for the sake of the health of us all, Bishop Kagan requires that while celebrating public Masses we strictly observe social distancing until further notice. So, we will have to do a few things differently. I encourage us to be patient with one another as we figure out how to do this prudently, safely and prayerfully. The purpose of this letter is to offer practical instructions as to how we are going to celebrate public Masses while observing social distancing.
Before the practical instructions below, I wish to mention three important points. First, if you have not yet read Bishop Kagan’s letter from April 30th, I strongly encourage you to do so. You can find it on our website at www.thequeenofpeace.com. Second, as the Bishop states in his letter “the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays remains in effect until further notice.” This means that you are not obliged to go to Mass. Third, as Bishop Kagan states in his letter in bold print “If you or anyone in your household is sick in any way or is in one of the more vulnerable groups of persons at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19, please stay at home until such time as you or that person is able to return to Church for Mass.”
Practical Instructions for Attending Holy Mass While Social Distancing.
Here are the instructions that I ask you to follow while attending Mass at Queen of Peace during this time of social distancing. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Hand sanitizer will be present inside each entrance of the church. Please use it each time you enter.
No socializing is to occur in the church before or after Mass.
Pews will be sanitized regularly.
Maintain social distancing during Mass with anyone you did not come to Mass with.
Every other pew will be a “Closed Pew.” No one will sit in those pews. This will enable us to maintain safe distance from those sitting ahead and behind us.
There will be no missals or prayer cards in the pews.
There will be no collection taken. Instead, collection baskets will be set inside each entrance. Please place your offering in the nearest basket, either before or after Mass. Thanks for your generosity.
For the distribution of Holy Communion, no one will leave the pew. Instead, the clergy will bring Holy Communion to you, passing through the closed pews.
We will continue to receive the Holy Eucharist in the hand.
For weekend Masses ushers will direct people when to exit the church at the end of Mass. The two center aisles will depart beginning with the back pews and ending with the front. The northwest section will depart through the north door beginning with the front pew and ending with the back. The east section will depart through the community room.
For a child who is having a difficult day, I encourage the parent to take the child into the gathering area, not the crying room.
Beginning May 6th, all Masses and confessions will return to the usual times. Daily Mass will be at 12:10 on Tuesdays-Fridays. Weekend Masses will be at 4:00PM on Saturdays and 8:00 and 10:00AM on Sundays. Confessions will be at 11:30-12:05 on Tuesdays-Fridays and from 2:45-3:45 on Saturdays. Due to the need of social distancing, confessions will be heard in the crying room until further notice.
Masses will still be livestreamed until further notice from the main body of the church. I continue to encourage you to check the Queen of Peace website regularly, even daily, at www.thequeenofpeace.com. It will continue to be the main form of communication during this time.
Our children will be making their First Holy Communion on Wednesday, May 20th at 5:30PM. Due to social distancing, only immediate family – parents, siblings and grandparents – and godparents can attend. I want to thank our parents for being so understanding and willing to make it work, so that our dear children will not have to wait until the Fall to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
If you have a question or a need we can serve, please contact the parish. Lastly, thank you for loving our parish with a sacrificial love, and for your prayers and support. I need them. I pray for you and offer you to Jesus and Mary every day. May you know and be convinced of the love God has for you!
Msgr. Tom Richter, Pastor