“Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
June 4, 2020
Brothers and Sisters,
Rejoice! With great joy, we announce that Our Lady of Perpetual Help will offer outdoor Mass this weekend to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, on Saturday, June 6 at 4:30 pm, on Sunday, June 7 at 9:00 am, and at 11:00 am on the Harrison Hall Side of Campus. In collaboration with Howard County parish leadership, as well as the preparations by our own parish staff, we are ready. We have made careful preparations and brainstormed best practices, while respecting our directives from the State, County, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Please read this letter thoroughly for instruction and to understand the way in which you may participate at one of our outdoor masses.
The Church has often wrestled with the question: how do we live out Jesus’ allegorical message to seek the lost sheep and welcome them back into Jesus’ flock? Today, the parish has been asking the unimaginable question: how do we regather the 99 sheep physically separated from us due to a pandemic? While some are eager to rejoin the campus, others need to remain “Safer at Home.” If you are not yet ready to return to Mass, please know that Archbishop Lori has lifted the obligation to attend Sunday Mass indefinitely. As we also look to honor your need, the parish will continue to offer a separate Sunday, 9:00 am Mass livestream at facebook.com/olphchurch or olphparish.org/broadcast with music and a full homily.
For those ready to join us for Outdoor Mass this weekend, we ask you to be personally committed to our safety guidelines. Your cooperation will assist us in providing a positive liturgical experience, a safe environment for your neighbor and enable us to continue to expand upon what we can offer.
We trust you will adhere to these guidelines before coming to Mass on Saturday or Sunday:
▫ Check your temperature; if it is above 99.9°, remain home;
▫ If you or a family member are feeling ill, remain home; if your or a family member have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 or have been symptomatic within 14 days, you are not permitted on campus;
▫ Bring a mask or facial covering for each family member (with the exception of those children who are 2 years old or younger);
▫ Pack chairs, seat pads, or blankets that are easy for placement on the Harrison Hall parking lot;
▫ Please plan in advance your need for a restroom. If necessary, the family restroom in the lower level Parish Center will be available. We must request your personal responsibility to sanitize after each use.
Mass will be offered from the Harrison Hall concrete landing. You will be invited to sit, with proper social distancing, on the asphalt lot before the Harrison Hall entrance. As you arrive on campus you will be greeted with parking and seating directions. Those with physical limitations will be allowed “curbside drop off.” You should expect a one-way traffic direction from the main entrance, around the front to the school, past the church, and as necessary behind the church towards the parish center. There will be no thru traffic between the playground and Harrison Hall.
As you park, please follow these safety guidelines:
▫ With the exception of Holy Communion, your mouth and nose must be covered from the time you leave your car until the time you return to your car to depart campus.
▫ Please follow directions on where to be seated, maintaining the necessary distance. As we practice “physical distancing” of 6-8 feet between persons not of the same household, we also need to refrain from socializing with each other.
▫ If a restroom is required, we ask you to please safely line up outside the lower level Parish Center where you will be guided to the restroom as available. The family restroom will be available and requires you to sanitize after each use.
▫ For the Eucharistic Prayer, where it is customary to kneel, you are welcome to remain standing.
▫ For Holy Communion, you will be guided to one of our communion stations. A Communion Minister will distribute the Blessed Sacrament to you while wearing a face covering. When it is your turn, remove your mask, receive Communion, replace your mask, and continue following the directional flow back to your seat. If a Communion Minister comes into contact with your hands, they will place the Blessed Sacrament on the table, sanitize their hands, and then resume distribution. It is highly encouraged for you to receive Communion in the hand as an act of charity. If you must insist on receiving on the tongue, only the priest will distribute in this manner (it is not fair to ask Communion Ministers at large to take that risk). You will either need to be seated in the priest section or wait until after Mass as movement during Mass will not be possible. Note the priest will sanitize before and after distributing to each person on the tongue. We appreciate your patience as communion flow may take a bit more time. The good news: we will keep the homily short!
▫ After the Blessing and Dismissal, you will be dismissed by section to limit congregating and violating social distance safety. Please note, for the safety and flow of the process, all parishioners must wait until the end of Mass before departing.
▫ There is an old expression, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Knowing there are many factors we cannot control, we yield to the fact that weather may cause us to alter or cancel Mass.
▫ The Mass will be spoken. There will be no music nor singing, no worship aids, missalettes or bulletins, and no sign of peace exchanged. This is all with the desire to not spread Covid-19 and to keep all parishioners and clergy safe and healthy.
▫ An offertory drop box will be available, yet electronic giving is safest for us (olphparish.org/giving).
Thank you again for your cooperation and assistance with preparing your family members as best as possible in advance. We know these guidelines affect us deeply, limit our personal prayer time and our desire to belong with each other. We make these sacrifices out of love for each other and deep desire for the Eucharist.
As we plan, learn and hear your advice, we remain committed to meet your spiritual needs by the safest means possible. In this first week, our Parish Staff will lead the Mass Ministry and look forward to your assistance in the weeks to come.
Appreciating and partnering with us on this journey to ensure safety for you and your neighbor, while also adhering to the Howard County Outdoor Mass limit of 250 persons, we ask you to “sign up” for Mass HERE. We will monitor reservations and if necessary, do our best to accommodate with an additional Mass. If there are difficulties with the process, please call our parish office (410)747-4334.
Please remain in prayer with me for our parish, for the health and safety of our community, and peace in the world.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett