Churches Reopening

REOPENING THE CHURCHES FOR LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS

 

Daily Mass      MONDAY. JUNE 29, 2020

Sunday Mass   SATURDAY EVENING, JULY 4, 2020

(LIMITED 25% CAPACITY)

Saint Matthew – 131

Our Lady of Charity – 56

St. Gregory the Great – 104

THE PUBLIC CELEBRATION OF MASS

  • Those who are ill or otherwise in a compromised state should not attend Mass publicly.
  • All who enter the church must wear a mask.
  • Based on the current guidelines, each Church will have to mark off sections, skipping each row and at least 6 feet apart (with the exception of families worshipping together) leaving room for the amount of people amounting to 25% of the completely full Church.
  • Extra chairs can be placed in parking lots or gardens to accommodate the overflow (6 feet apart).
  • As there will be no collection taken up during the mass, please deposit your offerings as you enter the church. An offertory basket will be set up. Alternatively, parishioners are encouraged to send in their offerings by mail or via e-giving services.
  • There will be a number of modifications to the celebration of mass in order to comply with diocesan directives and utilize best health practices.
    • There will be a reduced number of ministers for the mass and no altar servers.
    • All ministers for the Mass (celebrant, deacon, lector) will sanitize their hands before Mass begins.
    • Music ministry will be limited to the organist and cantor using a dedicated lectern and social distancing from the rest of the assembly.
    • There will be no entrance procession for all Masses. (The Celebrant will not be wearing a mask at this time.)
    • A separate podium or lectern will be set up for the lector while the priest will use the pulpit or ambo.
    • There is no exchange of peace and no holding of hands at the Lord’s Prayer.
    • People should come for Communion in the normal way, observing at least 6 feet of distance between them as they approach.
    • Holy Communion will be distributed by the celebrant, concelebrating priests, and/or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion who will not be wearing gloves but will be wearing masks. The ministers will disinfect their hands before the distribution of Holy Communion. Communicants, likewise, should make sure that their hands are disinfected. The Host will be allowed to “fall” (reverently) into the communicant’s hand to avoid any physical contact.
  • The communicant should come before the Minister of Communion with the mask on for the dialogue (“The Body of Christ. Amen.”) and then, after moving to the side, lower the mask, consume the Eucharist, and replace the mask.
  • The Precious Blood will not be distributed to the faithful.
  • WE ASK THAT THE FAITHFUL RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION IN THE HAND.
  • After distribution of Holy Communion, the ministers will sanitize their hands at the Credence Table.
  • There will be no recessional procession for all Masses. The Celebrant will not greet parishioners as they depart from church.

A letter from Bishop DiMarzio regarding second allegation of misconduct

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I regret to inform you the Archdiocese of Newark has notified me that a second allegation has been leveled by an individual claiming misconduct dating back 40 years. The attorney in both of these matters is Mitchell Garabedian. He is seeking a total of $40 million in these two unsubstantiated allegations.

There is absolutely no truth to either of these allegations. I deny this outrageous and libelous claim. I am contemplating filing a lawsuit against those responsible for these statements, which have no basis in fact. I am ready, willing, and able to go to trial to defend myself.

I have hired Joseph Hayden, an experienced trial lawyer from New Jersey, who has been investigating these claims and has uncovered conclusive evidence of my innocence. We plan to challenge these allegations in court or in any other proceeding.  I will never agree to a settlement of these claims.

These false allegations are troubling.  They will not deter me from our continued ministry and our Gospel mission. The last 50 years of my life have been spent in service to the Church, ministering to the poor and marginalized. That work must continue, along with my commitment to protecting children and continued advocacy for the healing of, and justice for, all victim-survivors of sexual abuse.

These have been difficult days for all of us. Our Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens remains at the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic and the center of civil unrest in our country. These untrue claims cannot distract from our efforts to continue bringing faith, hope, and charity into our parish communities during these unprecedented times.

I understand this is a grave matter. A Church investigation, called Vos Estis, is being conducted. The Archdiocese of New York has hired an outside law firm to oversee the process and they in turn hired the investigative agency run by the retired former director of the FBI, Louis Freeh, to conduct the investigation. I pledge my full cooperation to this independent investigation. As we go forward, I will keep you informed.

Asking you to keep the Diocese of Brooklyn in your prayers, and assuring you of my prayers for you, I am

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio
Bishop of Brooklyn

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bishop DiMarzio is recognized as a leader in the fight against sexual abuse. Since arriving at the Diocese of Brooklyn in 2003, Bishop DiMarzio instituted changes to protect children that surpassed the mandates of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. They include an independent reporting line, where reports are automatically sent to the district attorney in Brooklyn or Queens. He meets with victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse and started the annual Mass of Hope and Healing to pray for them.

Even before the mandates of the Dallas Charter, Bishop DiMarzio created protocols when he was the Bishop in the Diocese of Camden from 1999-2003 to ensure that children were protected and that victims received the care they need. Under his leadership, the Diocese of Camden was the first diocese in the country to offer victims a toll-free reporting line.

As a result of his exemplary record fighting sexual abuse, Pope Francis recently selected Bishop DiMarzio to conduct the investigation into the Diocese of Buffalo.

 

Gradual Re-Opening of Church

PLAN FOR THE REOPENING OF OUR CHURCHES
(Edited for the St. Matthew Community)

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is pleased to announce the Diocese of Brooklyn will slowly work towards going back to normal by opening the doors of the churches on May 26, 2020 for private prayer and devotion as well as for funerals and limited celebrations of baptisms and weddings. The following directives will apply in general and individual churches should prepare further directions which the faithful must adhere to when visiting a church.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CHURCHES MAY OPEN THEIR DOORS ON MAY 26TH.

Stage 1:           Opening of Churches for private prayer and devotion, Funerals, Baptisms and Weddings (May 26th)

Stage 2:            Limited Celebrations of Daily Mass (No date has been set yet)

Stage 3:            Limited Celebrations of Sunday Mass (No date has been set yet)

Stage 4:            Celebration of First Holy Communion and Confirmation (No date has been set yet)

CHURCHES

  • After the churches reopen for private prayer and devotion, the full reopening of the churches for liturgical celebrations will begin after the order for reopening of large gatherings has been given. This is important because of the danger of gathered crowds and the possible spread of the virus.
  • The churches will be marked off with tape to show areas that adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • The elderly and all who are health-compromised ARE ADVISED to stay home. Also, In the past 14 days if you have you experienced: fever (temperature of 100.4), cough, shortness of breath, chills/repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, you ARE ASKED TO STAY HOME.  If you tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, YOU ARE ASKED TO STAY HOME.  This is for the safety of others in the community.
  • There will be NO holy water in the fonts.
  • Hymnals, missalettes and any other worship aids will be removed from the pews and stored away.
  • Bulletins are not distributed.
  • Parishioners must wear masks, which they will bring on their own from home. No one should be in church without a mask.
  • Parishioners are to be encouraged to bring hand sanitizer from home.
  • Restrooms are open and available but used by one person at a time.
  • For the foreseeable future, parishes may not schedule any events which will draw crowds and make social distancing difficult.

PRIVATE PRAYER AND DEVOTION

  • The church will be open 4 hours each day. These hours will not coincide with the time a Mass is celebrated in the church.
  • There is to be no congregating of people (e.g. gathering to say a rosary together). There should not be more than ten (10) people in the church and there cannot be a group gathered.
  • The faithful cannot touch statues or other devotional objects in the church.

FUNERALS

The directives indicated above apply for funerals as well.

Funeral services will be permitted but are to be strictly limited to 10 people. Holy Communion will not be distributed at these services.

Persons attending the funeral must be seated using social distancing norms (Six [6] feet apart) except for members of the same household and everyone must wear a mask or face covering.

BAPTISMS

Baptisms will take place with social distancing guidelines being enforced and limited to 10 or fewer participants. Baptisms can be celebrated only with prior consolation with the Office of the Chancellor.

WEDDINGS

Weddings will take place with social distancing guidelines being enforced and, at first, limited to 10 or fewer participants. No Nuptial Masses will be celebrated at this time. Holy Communion should not be distributed at this time. Weddings can be celebrated only with prior consultation with the Office of the Chancellor.

OUTDOOR SERVICES

No gatherings of more than ten (10) persons is permitted. Outdoor services can only take place with the prior approval of the Vicar General of the Diocese of Brooklyn. 

ANOINTING OF THE SICK

Anointings will be celebrated with the usual safety measures in place. Priests will wear mask and gloves and the anointing will take place with the use of a cotton ball which is to be reverently disposed of after each anointing. Any guidelines that are in place in hospitals or other institutions must be respected. There are to be no celebrations of communal anointings in church.

CONFESSIONS

Confessions will take place with the priest and penitent both wearing masks and remaining at least six (6) feet distant from one another. A space other than a traditional confessional might need to be used. A larger space will be needed. Care must be taken to assure that no lines or groups form for confessions.

Food Distribution

LOCAL COVID-19 AND ANTIBODY TESTING

We have local COVID-19 and antibody testing at Bethany Baptist Church at 460 Marcus Garvey Blvd in Bed Stuy.  Testing began Wednesday, from 9 am – 5 pm and will continue through Sunday.

 

We are pushing for the site to be permanent and to add additional sites at other congregations but we need to prove to the state that individuals are interested in local testing. That’s why a big turnout is key.

 

If anyone you know is interested in testing for COVID-19 or antibodies, they should reach out to the call into the state line at 1-833-422-7369 to schedule an appointment. COVID-19 testing is slated for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, beginning at 9 am – 5 pm. Antibody testing will be at Bethany Thursday or Saturday. You must tell the state that you want to be tested at Bethany Baptist in order to be scheduled for this location.

 

There may be limited availability for unscheduled drop in tests but we strongly recommend that everyone call the state in advance to schedule an appointment.

 

Testing is also at New Jerusalem Worship Center in Jamaica, and St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East New York next week.  Thank you to Rev. Adolphus Lacey, Bishop Calvin Rice and Rev. David Brawley for your leadership and opening up your congregations for this vital service.

 

Congregation-based testing was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries following an intense effort by East Brooklyn Congregations-Metro IAF leaders over the past 8 weeks.  Gov. Cuomo’s public commitment during his press conference and recognition of Metro IAF (view the Governor’s Announcement here, he begins discussing the plan at around the 18 minute mark) was an incredible accomplishment, and we should feel very proud of it.

 

It is our hope that we can expand to more congregations and non-profits in other EBC neighborhoods in the weeks to come. Please call the state number to make an appointment and get to Bethany this week or St. Paul the next.

 

Food Bank Personal Shopper Home Delivery

We would like to share the following information regarding Food Banks.  Hopefully, this will be of assistance to you personally or perhaps you can share the information with someone you know is in need.

It is free, they do not ask for personal or financial information.

The local Food Banks and their contact phone numbers are as follows:

  • Bedford Stuyvesant Food Bank – 732-771-9663
  • Crown Heights Food Bank – 917-341-7675
  • Flatbush Food Bank – 718-732-7196

To find a Food Bank in an area other than those mentioned above, please contact the Main Food Bank of New York City at 212-566-7855.

The process is as follows:

  1. Contact the Food Bank in the Borough and area where you live.
  2. Leave your Name, Address, Cross Streets and Phone Number.
  3. Someone from the Food Bank will return the call and at that time you will need to provide a moderate list of essential groceries needed. (The MODERATE grocery list should be prepared ahead of time.)  The Representative from the Food Bank will also ask when would be a convenient time to make the delivery.