Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I am happy to inform you that we are ready to reopen our church for public Masses beginning the weekend of June 13-14 on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi!
Over the last two-and-half months or so, we have been staying at home waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to pass. Although the pandemic is not yet over, Bishop Kevin Vann—working with the California State guidance—has given us permission to gradually open up our church for worship. Attendance for Mass inside the church is limited to only 100 people and safety measures such as social distancing and disinfecting of the church after each Mass are to be followed for the purpose of limiting the spread of the virus. Therefore, I ask for your patience and collaboration in reserving your seat for each Sunday Mass and for your cooperation with our hospitality volunteers. Since seating is limited, not everyone will be guaranteed a place at Mass and seats will be allotted on a first-come basis. You can reserve your seat online or by calling the church office beginning each Monday of the week. You can reserve your place either as an individual, as a couple, or as a family unit.
I want to remind you that Bishop Vann’s dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is still in effect. Thus, if you are not well or have any symptoms of illness, if you are a senior who is more susceptible to the coronavirus, or if you are simply not comfortable with returning to worship at this time, I highly encourage you to stay home and participate in the 9:45 AM Sunday Mass via live-steam on our Facebook page. After that, Holy Communion will be made available for you at 11:30 AM in the church should you choose.
This new reality is something that we may have to get used to until the situation of COVID-19 changes.
I am painfully aware that many of you are eager to encounter our blessed Lord in the Eucharist and to receive his graces in the sacraments. You want to meet Him in prayer in your beloved church and to serve Him in the many ministries of the parish like you used to prior to the health pandemic. I want you to keep this passion and fire going, but please pray for the gift and virtue of patience as we slowly return to parish life.
As I share with you these few thoughts in preparation for our reopening of the church, my joy is tempered by sadness about the death of Mr. George Floyd and what has ensued around the country as a result. The level of anger and hatred, the disrespect for human life, the destruction of businesses and private property, and the disregard for the rule of law remind us that we have a long way to go in our task of “making disciples of all nations” as commanded by Jesus.
St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians reminds us that by baptism we form the one body of Christ. As the body is one, it has many parts, “so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another” (NABRE, 1 Cor 12:12-26). And if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it. Therefore, we stand in solidarity with those who suffer as a result of discrimination and injustice.
In closing, I ask that you join me in praying for healing: healing from death and destruction caused by the COVID-19 virus, and healing of our nation caused by the virus of racism and prejudice, hatred and injustice:
O God, who arrange all things according to a wonderful design, graciously receive the prayers we pour out to you for our country, that, through the wisdom of its leaders and the integrity of its citizens, harmony and justice may be assured and lasting prosperity come with peace. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Mass for the Nation)
Fr. Binh Nguyen
Dispensation from obligation to attend Sunday Mass is still in effect until further notice.
- Seating is very limited at all church and hall Masses.
- Sunday Mass attendance is by reservation, except at the 6:30 p.m. outdoor Masses on Saturday and Sunday.
- 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Masses held on the grass field
- Social distancing rules apply for every Mass.
- Bring/wear your own face mask for every Mass.
- Reception of Holy Communion by the hand is highly encouraged.
- Seniors or those with health issues are asked to view the 9:45 a.m. Sunday Mass live-streaming on Facebook. Reception of Holy Communion is available at 11:30 a.m. in the church.
No reservation needed for 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Masses held on the grass field, but you may want to bring chairs or blankets to sit on!
9:45 a.m. Sunday Mass Live-streaming on Saint Irenaeus Facebook @stirenaeuschurch.