On April 29, Governor DeSantis relaxed the safer-at-home policy, allowing a limited return to normalcy in Florida, with the exception of the southermost counties. On April 30, Bishop Wack, bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, lifted the suspension of all parish activities, effective May 6. Therefore, Holy Spirit Catholic Church will resume our normal schedule with the following guidelines beginning on May 6:
There still will be a risk for anyone who attends a public Mass. Even with best health practices and strict social distancing, anyone who enters a public space should recognize there is a risk of contracting the coronavirus, similar to going to a grocery store, a doctor's office, or the post office. Improved cleaning will occur at our churches, but no one should expect that they will be any safer from germs than other public spaces. For at-risk groups, those who have symptoms, and anyone who feels safer staying at home, no one will be required to attend.
1. Since there will still be no obligation to attend Sunday mass, parishioners are encouraged to attend mass during the week, perhaps coordinating with friends which day to come.
2. Social distancing must still be maintained, with a six foot distance between households. In the church, every other pew will be used, and households will keep a six foot distance between themselves. We estimate that approximately 55 households for a total of 150 persons can safely maintain that distancing. Once we reach that capacity, overflow will be directed to the Family Life Center, where the mass will be live streamed. Seating in the church will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Parishioners will be asked to maintain a six foot distance as we depart the church after mass.
3. Face mask use is strongly encouraged for all participants.
4. As far as possible, all items that are handled will be removed. Parishioners will be encouraged to take a missalette home (one per household, please), and bring them back every time they attend mass. Offertory baskets will not be circulated, instead, they will be place near the altar. Online giving is encouraged, and instructions for doing that will be provided. Bring your holy water bottles with you for personal use.
5. At the end of each liturgy, one volunteer per pew will be asked to wipe down the pew with provided wipes, and ushers will be responsible for wiping down the common areas, i.e., the narthex. Persons that use the restrooms are asked to wipe down any surfaces they touch with the provided wipes.
6. Parishioners will stay in their pews during communion time and the Blessed Sacrament will be brought to you. Parishioners are strongly encouraged to receive communion only on the hand. Ministers will sanitize their hands before and after the distribution of Holy Communion, and wear masks during the distribution.
7. Parishioners should be happy to know that UV lights have been installed In the HVAC system, similar to the ones used at Sacred Heart Hospital, that will help eliminate pathogens that are airborne.
8. Children's liturgy of the word remains suspended. Due to the lack of nursery workers, the nursery will remain closed until further notice. There is only space for two families in the cry room.
1. During the suspension of masses, Father Tom distributed communion outside the church doors from 9:00-10:00am on Sundays, as well as by appointment any time during the week. Most parishioners watched the live-streamed mass and then came to the church afterwards to receive communion, and more than 120 persons did so each Sunday.
2. Father Tom recognizes that there will still be those who feel uncomfortable attending mass with a congregation, but would still like to receive communion. He is happy to accommodate those persons, and will distribute communion at 10:00am every Sunday. Apart from that time, an appointment will need to be made. Please call the office to schedule, and one can schedule a recurring appointment if desired.
1. Confessions will once again be scheduled as they were before mass was suspended. Each week, confessions are scheduled on Fridays from 9:00-10:00am and Saturdays from 4:00-5:00pm. As before, the confessional will be used.
2. Confessions are also held by appointment. Call the office to schedule.
1. Office hours will resume as normal, Monday through Friday, from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Hand sanitizer is available as you enter, and a six foot distance should be maintained at all times. PPE is encouraged.
1. Bible studies, coffee and doughnuts, scheduled meetings, and the like can be scheduled as usual. Social distancing must be maintained. PPE is encouraged. Nursery support for the various programs cannot be provided at this time.
2. If food will be provided, preparations must be done while maintaining proper social distancing. To limit the handling of utensils, either someone must serve the food/drinks or prepared plates must be used.
3. Each group is responsible for wiping down any surfaces touched after the event concludes.