My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
We rejoice in the return of public Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral. We have missed you and welcome you home. How wonderful it will be to see familiar faces again. Even so, we know that this will be a gradual re-start, as we follow the state health directives approved by the California bishops.
Please watch Bishop McElroy’s video on our website. It is clear, helpful, and brief. (There is a link to the video at the bottom of this page.)
We will begin with two Sunday Masses on June 14, 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and then daily Mass at 12:07 during the week. We have not yet scheduled our Spanish Mass or any Saturday Mass, and we will proceed based on our experiences during the first week or two of Sunday Masses.
We ask you to be mindful of your own safety. If you are in a high-risk group, or feel uncomfortable coming out in public, remember that the Bishop has granted dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for all during the pandemic. Also, if you feel ill or are coughing, please do not come to church.
We are taking steps to lessen the risk any of us encounters at Mass. Of course, we will be sanitizing the pews between Masses, but there are additional steps that we will be implementing to minimize any risk to you.
First, under state health mandate, seating is limited to 100 people in the Church. We will be able to accommodate another 50 in the Cathedral Auditorium, with a live video stream of the Mass. Once we are full, no more people will be allowed to come in.
Seating will be first come, first seated, so plan on being at Mass earlier than usual. We will seat you as you arrive, beginning 30 minutes before Mass, but you will probably have to wait in line. There will be no saving seats. Once the church is filled, we will direct those remaining in line to the Auditorium.
When the Auditorium is filled, if there are still people in line, they have the option of returning to their cars and watching the Mass on their personal electronic devices. At the end of Mass, they may receive communion outside the entrance of the Auditorium on Fourth Avenue.
Ushers will seat you in pre-arranged areas based on the number of people in your household. The Church has been carefully measured, and pews blocked off so we can maintain a safe 6-foot distance between households. Of course, people who live together may sit side-by-side.
All will be required to use hand sanitizer before entry. Everyone who is 2 years of age or older must wear face masks the entire time while in the church, except briefly when receiving Holy Communion at the conclusion of Mass.
By DIOCESAN RULE, Mass will be shorter than usual, and there will be no congregational singing. A cantor and a musician will provide music for worship.
Communion will be distributed after the final blessing in the hand only, again by DIOCESAN RULE. Communion will be distributed in the church AND in the Auditorium.
After receiving communion, please exit the church directly, quietly and reverently, continuing to maintain a safe 6-foot distance from others. We are not permitted to have any gatherings or clusters for conversation after Mass.
We understand that all of this is unusual and difficult for us, and we ask for your patience while we arrive at the best safe procedures. We pray fervently that this pandemic will pass over us soon and let us return to worship as we have known it. The Mass is our Love and Our Life. Let us rejoice in Christ’s presence among us.
Fr Peter Navarra
Link to Bishop’s Video: sdcathedral.org/2020/06/02/what-to-expect-when-you-return-to-mass/