We are very excited to have resumed celebration of public Masses. The weekly Mass schedule is as follows:
Saturday - 4 PM Vigil
Sunday - 8 AM, 10 AM, 12 PM
Monday-Friday at 8 AM
The church will be open for private reflection Monday-Friday following 8 AM Mass - Noon
Please read this message from Fr. Peter in its' entirety so that you know what to expect about guidelines and protocols to keep our worship together safe and enjoyable.
Positive COVID-19 Mass Attendee
On Friday, June 26th, we learned that an individual who attended the 4 PM Mass on Saturday, June 20th and the 8 AM Mass on Thursday, June 25th has tested positive for COVID-19. Given the parish's adherence to safety protocols, including the wearing of masks, social distancing, and sanitizing there is a very low probability that anyone else in attendance at either of those Masses would have been infected via transmission from this individual. It is advisable, however, for those who are concerned, to check with their personal physicians about testing and/or any other steps to be taken.
Update to Guidelines for Reception of Holy Communion (effective June 9th)
After only two weekends, I have determined that we need to adjust the manner for receiving Holy Communion for everyone, including those who receive with low-gluten hosts. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We must attend to both safety and due respect for the Blessed Sacrament. It has been brought to my attention by medical professionals that having the priest and deacon bring Holy Communion to the congregation remaining in the pews is not safe enough for the protection of the priest and deacon.
Anyone who is approved to receive Holy Communion with a low-gluten host is asked to bring their personal host with them in a Communion pyx. A pyx should have been provided for you when you first received permission from the Archdiocese. If not, please contact Sr. Madonna asap and she will provide you with a pyx. Securely put your name on the pyx. (For example, using a small piece of paper and Scotch tape.) When you arrive at church place your pyx on the gold tray which will be on the left side of the altar.
Effective immediately, Holy Communion will be distributed this way:
- At Communion time the Church Guides will direct people to begin coming forward via the center aisle, one pew at a time, beginning at the front, alternating left side/right side, and maintaining social distancing by taking note of the green markings on the ends of the pews at 6-foot spaces.
- Approach the priest/deacon with your mask on and your hands cupped one in the other and held at the level of one's heart.
- The priest/deacon will present the host saying, "The Body of Christ" to which you respond, "Amen"
- The priest/deacon will place the host in your hand; gently close your hand and walk to the green square to your right or left, which is placed to facilitate proper respect for the Eucharist AND safety for those gathered
- Stop in the green square; remove your mask; consume the host; replace your mask.
- Walk back by way of the side aisle to your seat.
For low-gluten Communicants
- Approach the priest/deacon with hands folded and say, "Low-Gluten Communion."
- The priest/deacon will gesture toward the altar and say, "the Body of Christ." to which you respond, "Amen" and then
- Go up the steps to the left side of the altar.
- Retrieve your own pyx; open it and consume the host there at the left side of the altar.
- Take your empty pyx with you and return to your seat by the side aisle, respecting social distancing as usual.
The Church Guides will receive Holy Communion last.
Orientation for Mass
WELCOME BACK! We were all pleasantly surprised, when Governor Baker announced on May 18th that churches would be included in Phase 1 of the Reopening Plan. We have worked carefully to insure our readiness and compliance. Of course, we depend on and appreciate everyone’s patience, cooperation, compliance and good humor. Although anxiety remains high for us all, we have reason to be joyful. Like the Ten Commandments, we have a list of Do’s and Don’ts and they are for our own good. These procedures proceed from the guidelines given by the Commonwealth and the Archdiocese. They are for our own safety. Here is a summary of our procedures.
- Cardinal Seán has dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until otherwise announced. Therefore, anyone who does not feel it is safe enough for them to venture to church is NOT expected to do so. Indeed, they are advised and encouraged NOT to come to church. They are encouraged to view Mass on television or via the Internet. Everyone’s prayerful support is precious.
- The Mass schedule has been adjusted to allow time to sanitize the church between Masses. The Masses are Saturday at 4pm; Sunday at 8am, 10am and 12 noon.
- ENTER PARKING LOT FROM ESSEX STREET ONLY. DO NOT TURN AROUND. PULL ALL THE WAY FORWARD TOWARD PEARSON STREET. EVERYONE WILL BE LEAVING IMMEDIATELY AFTER MASS.
- The church will be open 20 minutes before the scheduled Mass time. Our capacity is restricted to 80 spaces. When our limit has been reached no one else will be permitted to enter. All enter by way of the ramp door.
- Before you leave home, wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. (Pray two Hail Mary’s slowly out loud.) We suggest you bring personal-sized hand sanitizer to church with you.
- Face masks must be worn at all times. Have your mask on when you leave your vehicle and keep it on until you return to your vehicle. Remember it this way: “No mask; no Mass.”
- Everyone enters by the ramp door; everyone proceeds down the center aisle and to the designated seats. Church Guides will direct you to the center aisle where you are to place your offertory contribution in the basket and then follow the Church Guide’s direction to the designated seat. Designated pews are marked with green tape on the ends and designated seats have been marked with a green cross. Seating will begin with the front of the church. Aisles are one-way traffic: In the center aisle we move toward the altar; in the side aisles we move away from the altar.
- We are to maintain social distancing at all times, from the time you exit your vehicle until you return to your vehicle. There is to be no gathering in groups for friendly conversation. This means keeping a 6-foot safety zone between each person at all times. Measuring lines are painted on the church sidewalk. In the aisles of the church the distance between each yellow pew marker is 6 feet.
- There will be no processions; no congregational singing; no missalettes or hymnals; no passing of the collection baskets. The greeting of peace will be with a friendly wave, like Queen Elizabeth would do.
- See updated guidelines for reception of Holy Communion (including low-gluten host) above...
- After the final blessing we will leave by way of the side aisles only. One row at a time will be called to exit, beginning with the rear of the church. Those seated on the right side will leave by the ramp door. Those seated on the left side may leave by the front doors or the ramp door. All proceed directly to their vehicles while maintaining social distancing. Remember, the distance between two yellow markings on the pews is 6 feet. No lingering for friendly conversation.
Watch this short, representative video from the Archdiocese of Boston on how to participate safely during Mass when we resume. Specific details will vary.
Call for Volunteers
We are instituting a new ministry called Church Guides. Our volunteer guides will be present at each Mass to help our parishioners safely worship together. They will take on various roles such as guiding people to their seats, help to maintain social distancing, address questions and concerns, and help people to understand the direction of movement before, during, and at the end of Mass. We will need guides for each of the Masses being offered as follows: Saturday - 4pm, Sunday at 8am, 10am and 12pm. A meeting for those volunteering to be church guides will be held Thursday, May 28th in St. Augustine Church. Please contact Sr. Madonna, if you are interested in volunteering at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While We Prepare
Not everyone will be comfortable returning to Mass in the church, therefore:
- The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation will continue to be suspended for the foreseeable future.
- We are working on ways to live-stream Sunday Masses, more information and will post details when the plan is in place. We are very fortunate to have Mass available several times every day professionally broadcast live via Boston Catholic TV (Comcast 268, Verizon 296) EWTN and other sources.
- The Easter Sacraments of Baptism and Reception into the Church, First Holy Communions are all postponed until we have the new procedure in place and running smoothly. Confirmations are currently scheduled to take place on October 3rd.
- 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 will resume as part of the re-opening process, date TBD. 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 ensure 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.
Parish offices and St. Augustine School will remain closed for the short term. Our primary focus will be on resuming Mass safely. Our parish staff is working remotely and will be monitoring email and phone calls. Email for the parish office is email@example.com, phone is 978-475-0050. Please check our contact/staff listing page for specific personnel.
St. Augustine Parishioners ROCK!! Your continued support via mail or online has been greatly appreciated and important for us to be able to continue to minister to our community. We have had many new signups for one-time and recurring donations.
If you would like to sign up to donate online, 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:
To set up recurring regular offertory electronically, visit our Online Giving site.
Through the Archdiocesan 90 Days Now - For Your Parish program - donate daily by credit card for 90 days, click here to access the form