Parish Opening for

Public Worship

November 30, 2020

Sunday Mass "is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord's supper." Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, December 4, 1963. 

The rising tide of infections, however, threatens our communal worship of the mystery of God. Here is how we can cooperate to protect Sunday mass and Christmas. After consideration of advice from pastors, deacons and the faithful, I have issued the following liturgical protocols effective November 30, 2020, Monday of the First Week of Advent. My hope is that these reasonable protocols might help our people mitigate the spread of the virus, keep our priests, deacons, religious, lay ministers, staff and parishioners safe and healthy, and allow for all of us to have a meaningful and joyful Advent and Christmas Celebrations.

Yours in Christ
Edward J. Weisenburger
Bishop of Tucson

SUNDAY AND DAILY MASS

Due to the number of parish priests and staff affected by the rapidly rising number of Covid-19 infections and the reduced hospital capacity to absorb more of the infirm,  Bishop Weisenburger is enacting the following directives:

  1. Sunday Mass  Sunday Mass, which is at the heart of our worship of God, will continue indoors, but Holy Communion is to be distributed at the end of Mass so that the communicant can exit the Church without unduly compromising social distancing. Parishioners will continue to wear masks, social distance and wash their hands before entering the Church. During mass, doors and windows may be opened to allow the circulation of air within the Church according to the judgment of the pastor. Ventilating liturgical spaces might reduce the chance of infection.

  2. Daily Mass  Daily Mass may not be held indoors. Daily Mass can be moved to the outdoors where the movement of air might serve to reduce the chance of infection. Masks, social distancing and washing of hands is still required to attend. Pastors are encouraged to continue streaming Daily Mass if possible.

  3. Parish offices  Parish offices should be closed, and employees permitted to work remotely from home. Parish’s telephones can be forwarded and calls by parishioners ought to be monitored.

  4. Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass and Feast of the Immaculate Conception These two celebrations can follow the protocols established for Sunday Mass above.

Bishop has asked that these directives as soon as practical, but beginning no later than Monday, November 30th.  

VARIOUS SPECIAL LITURGIES

Weddings under these Protocols
Regarding weddings, many of you stated limiting the number of family members or guests who can attend to 10 is too restrictive. As with funerals, weddings are about family and close friends, and they tend to let their guard down when practicing safe-distancing protocols. First, I would recommend that if possible, to postpone Weddings until a later date when the virus has settled. Regarding number of attendees, I will leave it to the pastor's discretion on the number of family members and guests allowed to attend but recommend that it should not exceed 50 people. I have detailed updated guidelines for weddings below.

  1. Work with Bride and Groom to limit number of attendees.

  2. There shall be no formal or informal gatherings of family or guests outside the church before or after the Wedding Mass. Households must maintain social distancing upon entering and exiting the church.

  3. Everyone 6-years old or older must wear a mask.

  4. It is imperative that only members of the same household can sit together in the same row.

  5. Only couples from the same household can sit together.

  6. Individual attendees must be seated 6 feet apart from other individuals, couples, or household groups.

  7. Immediate Family of the Bride and Groom should arrive early and be seated in the church first, separated by household, then followed by guests. All shall remain in their place once seated.

  8. The Bridal Party may be part of the procession, wearing masks and social distancing. There is to be no other procession involving family or guests.

  9. The Bride and parent(s) may process without a mask.

  10. Bride and Groom should wear a mask throughout the celebration, except when saying their vows, receiving communion, and their first kiss.

  11. Holy Communion will only be given to the Bride and Groom.

  12. At the end of Mass, the Bride and Groom shall leave the church. There will be no reception line at the Church. Please find a room or office area where the Bride and Groom may go upon exiting the Church, and where they may wait until guests have left. Family and guests (excluding Parents and Bridal Party) shall proceed directly to their vehicles maintaining social distancing protocols.

  13. It is at the pastor's discretion if photography after Mass is in order. It is recommended that the Presider limits his exposure by only taking photos with the Bride and Groom.

Funeral Masses under these Protocols
For Funeral Masses, please follow the approved protocols established for your parish for weekend Masses. As funerals tend to be more about family, people understandably tend to let their guard down. If you share these protocols with those funeral homes most commonly serving your parish, they may be of help in keeping people safe. The following extra precautions and steps must be taken:

  1. There shall be no formal or informal gatherings of family or mourners outside the church before or after the Funeral Mass. Households must maintain social distancing upon entering and exiting the church.

  2. Everyone 6-years old or older must wear a mask

  3. It is imperative that only members of the same household can sit together in the same row.

  4. Only couples from the same household can sit together.

  5. Individual attendees must be seated 6 feet apart from other individuals, couples, or household groups.

  6. Family of the deceased should be seated in the church first, separated by household, then followed by guests.

  7. The casket or urn should remain outside until everyone is seated before bringing the casket or urn inside. There is to be no procession involving family or friends.

  8. There will be no distribution of Holy Communion indoors.

  9. ·Casket or urn shall leave the church first at the end of Mass. Family and guests shall proceed directly to their vehicles maintaining social distancing protocols.

For Baptisms under these Protocols

  1. No more than 20 family members or guests can attend a Baptism. If the baptism is celebrated entirely outdoors, then a larger number could be permitted to attend if proper social distancing is maintained and the gathering does not cluster near the font.

  2. ·Like all celebrations, proper social distancing by household must always be maintained. If indoors, Godparents and family members should be seated in the pews following social distancing protocols

  3. ·Everyone ages 6 and above must wear a mask

Quinceañeras under these Protocols
During these times, I recommend postponing these celebrations as social distancing protocols tend to break down. However, if you allow for quinceañeras, please limit the attendees to 20.

Statement of Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger on the Suspension of Masses beginning July 1, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I wish to inform you that after a careful review of the medical situation, and hearing the recent concerns of our Governor and civic leaders on television, I have been advised by Diocesan leadership to suspend public worship. I agree with their recommendation and the suspension of public worship is effective as of today, July 1st, 2020. This returns us temporarily to those protocols we were following just prior to the reopening of our parishes. You should anticipate a suspension of approximately four weeks but the matter will be reviewed daily and the suspension could be for a shorter or longer duration.

Those who follow national news are aware that the State of Arizona has been referenced across the nation for our substantial spike in Covid-19 cases. When the pandemic began I stressed that a primary factor on reopening would be the ability of our hospitals and medical personnel to respond adequately to the sick. Members of the medical community—who daily place themselves at great risk to serve us—are now telling us that we are at a crisis point. I believe that we owe it these noble men and women to do our part in bringing the pandemic under control.

For now let us be committed to journeying in solidarity with the sick, the suffering, the unemployed, the frightened, and the healthcare workers who must daily face this pandemic without flinching. Join with your local parish for televised or internet Masses, or log onto the Diocese of Tucson web page and join me for daily Mass. The protocols we instituted for our parishes at the time of our reopening were sensible, thorough, and implemented with care and sensitivity. When we are able to open up once again these protocols will be reinstated. But for now, where it is safe, pastors will arrange for an outdoor distribution of Holy Communion after members of the faithful have observed a Mass via technology. Confessions will be heard only out-of-doors. The only public Masses will be funerals and weddings, and with a limit of ten persons in the congregation.

I wish to express my deep gratitude for the clergy and parish ministers who have responded so very well throughout the pandemic. They are extraordinary men and women and their fidelity to you and intense desire to be of service is a witness to the grace of their vocation.

Let us pray that this suspension is brief and that we can soon be in one another’s company. Let us also be unified in our resolve to lead the way in battling this pandemic. The witness and example of our lives and the intensity of our prayers will surely help to heal the world.

May God bless you abundantly,

+Edward J. Weisenburger

July 1, 2020
 

Statement of Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger on the Rise in Covid-19 Cases

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

I know we’re all anxious to be back in our parishes but the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths has unexpectedly increased in Arizona.  I very strongly encourage all those in the CDC vulnerable categories [especially those age 65+ or with a chronic health condition] to remain at home and let the Church come to you via technology.  Just a few more weeks might make all the difference.  

 

The Church loves you and wants you to be safe.  God bless you!   

 

+Edward J. Weisenburger, Bishop of Tucson
June 9, 2020

Statement of Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger on the Killing of Mr. George Floyd

I join with Bishops across our nation in denouncing racism and the violence it engenders. 

The killing of Mr. George Floyd is an image that remains deeply etched in the minds of all Americans.  I pray that this horrific image will lead to our reexamination of the lingering presence of racism in our culture and become a call to action for all of us to work for deep and lasting change.

I have prayed at Mass for Mr. Floyd by name.  It is my prayer that God will raise him up to eternal life, even as God raises up a host of voices that cry out for justice and dignity for every human being and an end to violence in our communities. 

+Edward J. Weisenburger, Bishop of Tucson
June 2, 2020

Message from Bishop Weisenburger regarding the Re-Opening of our Churches.

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OUR LADY OF GRACE

520-568-4605

 

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MARICOPA, AZ  85138

 

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