A blessed month of August to you- I hope everyone has remained safe and healthy. Hopefully everyone has found some time for fun with family and friends as well! As we continue to move through this strange summer, here are a few updates for the coming months:
In case you have not already seen on our social media pages, Rural King stores have launched a special event called “church week.” For any purchases made in Rural King stores from August 2 (today) through August 15, Rural King will donate 10% of any purchase to the church of your choosing. All you have to do is go to www.ruralking.com/churchweek and upload your receipts. There will be an option for you to choose Divine Mercy from the list of available churches. If you are unsure of how to do this or do not have access to computers or internet, we will be happy to facilitate that for you at the parish office. Simply bring or mail your receipt to the parish office and we will upload it for you. All receipts must be uploaded by Sept. 1.
I am sure that most already know this, but Bishop Thomas has asked that all parishes implement Governor DeWine’s recent order requiring all to wear face coverings in all public places. Therefore, per the Governor’s directive, all are expected to wear a mask when coming to Mass. However, I kindly ask that, when worn in church, masks should not contain any political messages/advertisements/endorsements of any kind, or anything else that would not be appropriate for church decorum. Governor DeWine did mention a few categories of people that are not required to wear a mask; please check the State of Ohio website for the Governor’s exact words and for the list of people that are exempt from the mask mandate.
We have been working harder than usual in our preparations for the upcoming school year. In addition to the regular planning that goes into any school year, there are many added plans that we have had to consider so that we can navigate the academic year safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. One such discussion was how we are going to manage the practical aspects of having school Masses every week. There are two important points worth mentioning in this regard. Firstly, all of us involved in that discussion agreed that there is a major benefit for the students to have them actually in the church for Mass (as opposed to Mass in the Hall or livestreaming it to the classrooms). This means, however, that we will still have to maintain some social distancing among the students, in addition to already having half of the pews roped off. This means, of course, that seating will be very limited for any parishioners who would like to come for the school Mass. My plan is to have the Hall open for overflow like we do on Sundays. I know this is not what we are used to, especially because we like to be present when our kiddos are doing one of the readings, serving, etc. However, this is the best that we can offer given the current situation. Non-student seating will be on a first-come, first served basis. Regardless, you can always watch the livestream of the school Mass from home/work or wherever you are!
Secondly, and relatedly, we will be moving the weekly school Mass to Thursdays at 9:15, beginning with the first school Mass on August 20. This will save a lot of confusion for everyone because in the past we have always had a number of weeks in which in-services and other scheduled delays required us to move the Mass away from Friday, throwing off the daily Mass locations, in addition to the teachers’ lesson plans. While we will still have to occasionally move the school Mass for Holydays of Obligation and civil holidays, having Mass on Thursday will mitigate this problem. The Friday morning parish “daily” Mass will remain in Payne and will be at 8:00, with confessions at 7:30, like we do in the summer.
Blessings to you all. Enjoy what is left of summer!