In today's Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, we prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ's promised Advocate - the Holy Spirit who will empower us in fulfilling our God-given mission. We believe that during this time of trial, our Lord remains with us through the Holy Spirit, so we ask the same Spirit to prepare our hearts for our reunion with Him, our Eucharistic Lord, and with one another, as we gather again in our St. Luke Church to worship God together after two months of sheltering-in-place. (Click here for the Novena to the Holy Spirit.)
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, in part two of his update on the Reopening for Public Masses, outlined some important directives on the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
1. Dispensation. All the faithful in the Archdiocese of San Francisco (especially those who are older, or who have underlying health conditions, or who have cough or illness) are dispensed from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass in Church but are still obliged to observe the Lord’s Day and are encouraged to spend time in prayer on Sunday (in particular, following a livestream Mass or participating in a spiritual or corporal act of mercy). This also applies to Holy Days of Obligation.
2. Liturgical Alterations during the COVID-19 Crisis.
2.1. Sign of peace: no handshake, remain in place and give a reverent bow
2.2. Holy Communion: Communion for the faithful is distributed immediately after the conclusion of the Mass, i.e., after the dismissal. The faithful should maintain 6 feet distance and they are to remove gloves and mask before coming forward for Holy Communion. Immediately upon receiving Holy Communion, the faithful should resume the proper use of their face coverings. After distribution, the faithful may depart after making a brief prayer of thanksgiving.
The Archdiocese will continue to issue directives to guide parish events, group meetings and other such activities as we progress, step by step, toward returning to our normal parish life. Click here to read the entire protocol.
We continue to thank God, and ask for His healing mercies and grace, and call on the Holy Spirit to rekindle in our hearts the fire of faith, hope and love, as we come to celebrate Christ's sacrificial love in the Eucharist once again. (Please wait for the notice on the actual date of "Homecoming Sunday.")
Wishing you all God's blessings and, unfailing care and protection, dear friends at St. Luke.
Rev. Jonathan Paala
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"And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)