We’re Working On It…
On Monday, May 18th, Governor Baker gave the green light for houses of worship to re-open. A couple of hours later, the Archdiocese released guidelines and directives for how this will take place safely. Here is the document
As you can see, if you read it or even just skim it, there are a lot of details to manage. Our clergy and parish staff are as eager as our parishioners to get back to worshiping SAFELY together and in complete compliance with these guidelines, so with that goal in mind, we are diligently working on a plan to start offering Mass in the church as soon as possible. We’ll be sending out emails to keep you posted but check back here if you have questions. We thank you for your patience and especially your prayers during this period in our church’s history.
Everyone deserves credit for their daily struggle to adjust to the unusual circumstances we face during the global health crisis. We have received several advisory notifications from Rome and the Archdiocese to guide our activities. A summary is provided below. Everyone’s understanding is appreciated as we strive to do what is best for the protection of all from COVID-19. Clearly these restrictions are unwelcome yet necessary for the protection of all. Let us be encouraged by our faith in the One who is always with us. Jesus is able to touch our minds, hearts and souls even though we cannot physically touch one another. It was the Apostle Thomas who declined to believe in the Risen Lord unless he could touch the wounds in Jesus’s hands and side. Jesus had us in mind when He said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Now, more than ever.
Celebration of Mass
- The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation is suspended until public celebration of Mass can be safely resumed.
- Pre-recorded Mass, while not recommended, may be permitted under the conditions described by the USCCB. Live-streaming of Mass is preferred. Here at St. Augustine’s we did pre-record the Masses for the Triduum and Easter. These were well received by many. However, we will not be continuing this because we cannot justify the risk to those involved while all of us have been instructed by the governor to stay at home. We are very fortunate to have Mass available several times every day professionally broadcast live via Boston Catholic TV (Comcast 268, Verizon 296) EWTNand other sources.
- The Friars continue to celebrate Mass privately and you are daily remembered in these Masses and prayers. All previously scheduled “announced Mass intentions” are being fulfilled in this way. Unannounced Mass intentions may be arranged by phone at 978-475-0050, x 10.
- Happily we are able to keep the church open daily from 8am-5pm for the purpose of personal visits to the Blessed Sacrament and private prayer, while safely keeping social distance, of course.
- The Easter Sacraments of Baptism and Reception into the Church, First Holy Communions, Confirmations are all postponed until they can be safely done after the resumption of public Masses.
- Baptisms and weddings MAY proceed, but attendance must be limited to 10 or fewer people. It is preferred that they be postponed. Although, in case of danger of death, anyone can baptize, using water and the prescribed formula. One of the priests would be available in such a situation.
- Funeral Masses and wakes in either funeral homes or church are not permitted. Graveside burial services or mausoleum entombment with no more than 10 persons present can be conducted by a priest or deacon. Arrangements can and should be made to schedule a Memorial Mass in the church at a later date.
- Confessions are not being heard at the usual times because we cannot insure everyone’s safety. Pope Francis has reminded us all that a perfect, sincere act of contrition made with the intention to avail oneself of the sacrament of Reconciliation when it is safe to do so is the appropriate thing to do under our present circumstances. Confessions cannot be heard over the phone or in any manner which would put the strict confidentiality of the matter at risk.
- Anointing of the Sick is not being done even in hospitals and nursing homes or private homes or elsewhere because it is impossible to maintain adequate protective measures for both the sick person and the priest. When possible the priest can and does pray with the individual on the telephone.
Parish offices and St. Augustine School are closed until the governor determines it is safe to reopen. Our parish staff is working remotely and will be monitoring email and phone calls. Email for the parish office is firstname.lastname@example.org, phone is 978-475-0050. Please check our contact/staff listing page for specific personnel.
Please remember that without the regular collection at Mass, the offertory, which supports our infrastructure and all staff salaries, suffers greatly. Please help us to stay on top of day-to-day operations by sending in your offertory or donating online. Donations by check may be mailed to St. Augustine Parish, 43 Essex St., Andover, MA 01810 Attn: Offertory.
There are three secure options to make donations online:
securely and directly by credit card for one-time or recurring monthly donations – click on button below:
Through the Archdiocesan 90 Days Now – For Your Parish program – donate daily by credit card for 90 days, click here to access the form
To set up recurring regular offertory electronically, visit our Online Giving site.