Dear Parishioners & Friends:
Christ is risen!
In the spirit of love, His Eminence has
provided us with a modification to his previous Directive as a first phase to
reopening our church in a measured way. This Directive gives us prudent path
toward receiving the Sacraments beginning Sunday, May 17.
Since it is a first step, there are many
details. These details are important to meet various regulations, but they can
also seem a bit overwhelming.
I found it very helpful to join with His
Eminence in a Zoom call yesterday with nearly 300 priests and deacons in the
Archdiocese. He spoke about the details and answered our many questions. In the
same way, I will be pleased to talk with you and answer any questions you have
when we have our Zoom call this Sunday after Mass.
Before getting to the details, let me
first summarize the spirit and tone of the Directive and today’s call.
His Eminence urges us to not be afraid,
and at the same time to be prudent. None of us wants to do anything that will
hurt others—either physically or, most importantly, spiritually. To paraphrase
His Eminence, “When the life of humans is endangered, doctors use their tools
and we [bishops and priests] use our tools: prayer, forgiveness of sins,
material aid—all toward the goal of saving souls.”
That was the loving message from His
Eminence. It is a message of hope and encouragement, and filled with pastoral
In collaboration with our Diocesan
Bishops, His Eminence has given us discretion in proceeding with caution in the
upcoming weeks. By your continued prayers, they hope that this gradual increase
in our sacramental life will not require any reversal of the positive trends
that we have recently observed.
As you know, the situation in Los Angeles
county is different than in other places. Therefore, with pastoral discretion,
here is how we will implement His Eminence’s instructions at St Michael’s:
Vespers, Sunday Lauds, and Sunday Mass will continue to be live streamed as
before. (Other services will not be live streamed except for Ascension Day.)
Receiving Holy Communion
may receive communion in family groups after the Mass by
registering in advance. To register, you must contact Fr John the day before,
and he will assign your family group a time between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (A
“family group” consists of those who live in the same dwelling.)
who attend must wear a face covering, except at the moment when Holy Communion
is received. (“The celebrant should not wear a face covering while serving.”)
Communion will be offered in the usual manner. For your safety, Fr John will
clean his fingers and hands frequently when giving communion.
receiving Holy Communion, prepare yourself by saying at least Psalm 42 , 84
, and 122 . For your convenience, these Psalms, with other prayers
before Communion, are attached.
experiencing cold or flu symptoms (fever, coughing, fatigue, etc.), the
elderly, and any at-risk persons should remain at home, and may contact Fr John
for an individual appointment to receive Confession and Holy Communion.
your scheduled time, please remain in your car and maintain appropriate
physical distancing, wearing a face covering, if you interact with anyone
outside your family group.
receiving communion, please depart in the prescribed pattern and in a timely
manner so that the next family group may enter.
the inability to confess during Lent and the long absence from Communion, as
well as anxiety, fear, despair, and other passions we have all felt during this
pandemic, you are encouraged to come to the Sacrament of Penance (Private
Confession) before receiving the Eucharist.
will be available by appointment on weekdays and Saturdays.
distancing between Fr John and the penitent will be observed; and the
absolution will be spoken from a distance without placing a hand on the
Cleaning and Sanitizing
May 15, the entire facility will be professionally deep-cleaned and sanitized
for your safety.
you arrive, we ask that you refrain from touching the pews, door handles, or
other items (except the top of the communion rail, which will be sanitized
between each person).
sanitizer will be available in the Narthex. Because supplies are short, we ask
that you consider bringing your own for personal use.
observe all posted signs which encourage good hygiene practices.
church and parish hall are closed for all non-liturgical functions. All Bible
studies, Didache, catechetical instruction, organizational meetings, and
various groups will continue to meet online (i.e., via Zoom).
May 18, by appointment only the church will be open during the week for private
prayer and lighting candles. Fr John will be available during this time to lead
a devotion or meet with you, following the safe procedures in effect in our
county. If you come during these times, please limit your contact with
furniture, pews, etc. and follow posted signs when you make use of this
will be celebrated daily (see schedule below) and family groups may register to
receive communion after the Mass on any of those days. To
register, you must contact Fr John the day before who will assign your family
group a time.
His Eminence made it clear that our Archdiocese is partnering with other
Orthodox bishops as well as Catholic bishops and Protestant leaders to petition
our State Government and Governor to certify in clear terms that clergy as
“essential workers” and worship as “essential.”
Your patience, understanding, care for
others, and most especially prayers for our state and nation during this
pandemic health crisis are appreciated and welcome. And, by the prayers of the
Holy Archangel Michael, may our parish family be guarded and protected from all
Your spiritual father in Christ,
Rev Msgr John W Fenton