A Plan for Reopening at The Immaculata

Updates from Fr. Matt

July 16, 2020

Mass on the Grass

As of Wednesday at 12:00 am, Governor Newsom has again ordered church worship services held indoors to be suspended.  Although his decision attempts to address the spike in COVID-19 cases, it is nevertheless a disappointment and sadness for us, just as we were beginning to feel the rhythm of the Church’s sacramental life again.

After meeting with our parish staff and key volunteers we have decided to hold weekend Masses outside on the east lawn in order to continue to make Eucharist available.  We will also continue to stream both daily and weekend Masses for those who are vulnerable or do not feel safe leaving their homes. 

Keep in mind that even on the lawn we are required to wear face masks and to maintain social distancing between members of different households.  Markings on the lawns will provide a guide for this, and ushers will be on hand to assist.  Though there is no limit to the number of people who can gather for worship outside, we will be limited by the number of those who can fit on the east lawn and maintain social distancing so please be attentive to and understanding of our ushers’ directions. 

There can be no gathering after Mass and so communion will still be distributed after Mass and you are asked to please depart after you have received communion.  Rose Donut coupons will still be available!

We will continue the same schedule of Masses; Saturday at 4:30 pm, Sunday at 7:30, 9:00 and 11:00 am.  In order to continue to stream one of the Masses, since the equipment to do that is inside the church, the 7:30 am Mass will be held inside the church with only an audio feed to the lawn.    

Make sure to bring a lawn chair or blanket, put on sunscreen and wear a hat (yes, you can wear a hat at an outdoor Mass).  Please don’t bring umbrellas as they will obstruct the view for others. 

I have also included the letter Bishop McElroy sent to the priests of the Diocese this week announcing these changes. 

See you at Mass on the Grass! 

June 7, 2020

June 5, 2020

The Immaculata will reopen for daily Masses beginning on Monday, June 8 and our first weekend Masses will be the weekend of June 13 and 14. Given the limited capacity, social distancing, and other requirements, Masses are going to look and feel quite differently for a while. Keep in mind that though we will follow all required safeguards, gathering in a congregational setting carries a relative higher risk for transmission of COVID-19. For this reason, the obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day Masses continues to be dispensed. Those who are vulnerable due to age or underlying health conditions are encouraged to continue to shelter at home. Masses will continue to be streamed over the internet.

During this phase of reopening, we will add one Mass in addition to our regular weekend Mass schedule. Masses will be held at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and 7:30, 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. Experience so far with reopening of churches across the country has consistently shown that only 20-30% of regular attendees return in the initial weeks so this should accommodate the need. Additional Masses will be added if needed.

In addition to some of the points in part one here are some things to expect when you arrive for Mass. During this initial phase, in which attendance is capped at 100 people, entrance will be through the front (main) entrance of the church only. Those over two years of age will need to be wearing a face covering. Once you have entered the church you will be directed by ushers for seating. Unfortunately, you will not be able to choose your place in this phase as the ushers will need to maximize the seating in each pew while observing social distancing. Only those who live in the same household may sit together. 

Restrooms use will be limited to one household or two people at a time, so please use the restrooms at church only if absolutely necessary.

There will be simple music at each Mass, but the congregation is asked not to sing to avoid spreading droplets of saliva. 

The distribution of communion will take place after Mass. The procession will be different from usual so please follow the ushers’ directions. After communion please proceed immediately to your assigned exit and to your car. Unfortunately, we will not be able to have any gatherings after Mass.

I will be conducting a Facebook live session this Sunday at noon to explain our plan in more detail and to answer questions. As well, a video is being prepared to demonstrate some of the procedures and will be posted on our website.

May 31, 2020

On Monday, May 25th Governor Newsom, announced that places of worship in California could reopen with limited capacity (25% of a building’s capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower). The Bishops of California had already been working closely with public officials to draft plans to make that reopening safer. In the Diocese of San Diego, every parish was required to submit its own reopening plan in accordance with State, County and Diocesan requirements.

Here at The Immaculata an ad hoc committee comprised of staff and liturgical ministers was established to create and implement a plan toward our own reopening. Bishop McElroy has given permission for parishes to hold Sunday Masses again beginning the weekend of June 13/14, fittingly enough, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. Daily Masses may begin the week prior beginning on Monday, June 8.

We are still assembling necessary supplies and finalizing the details of our plans. I will keep you informed with all the details as soon as they are finalized but wanted to get to you some initial points for your consideration.

The Immaculata will reopen for daily Masses beginning on Monday, June 8th and our first weekend Masses will be the weekend of June 13th and 14th.

  • Given the limited capacity, social distancing, and other requirements, Masses are going to look and feel quite differently for a while. Keep in mind that though we will follow all required safeguards. Gathering in a congregational setting carries a relative higher risk for transmission of COVID-19.

  • For this reason, the obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day Masses continues to be dispensed. Those who are vulnerable due to age or underlying health conditions are encouraged to continue to shelter at home. Masses will continue to be streamed online.

  • Face coverings and social distancing will be required by all persons entering the church and at all times while in the church.

  • Special seating and communion procedures will be in place. Holy Communion will only be distributed under the form of consecrated bread and only in the hand.

  • The Sign of Peace will continue to be suspended.

  • Additional cleaning protocols will be established to sanitize frequently touched surfaces.

  • During this phase of reopening, we will add one Mass in addition to our regular weekend Mass schedule. Masses will be held at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and 7:30, 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. Experience so far with reopening of churches across the country has consistently shown that only 20-30% of regular attendees return in the initial weeks so this should accommodate the need. Additional Masses will be added if needed.

  • Per the Governor’s order, no more than 100 people may be admitted for a single Mass. Admittance will be on a first come basis. Overflow will be available on the east lawn where audio of the Mass will be available, and communion will be distributed. Face coverings and social distancing will still be in effect on the lawn and that area as well will be limited to 100 people.

    There are many more details to come, which we will make available as we get closer to our reopening, but I wanted to at least get these preliminary details to you as soon as possible. As you know, the situation is very fluid, and we are working diligently to keep up and stay as safe as possible. Throughout this challenging period please be patient and generous of heart to all involved. Let us be grateful for this opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist together again. Let us pray for a smooth reopening and an end to this pandemic.