May 6, 2020
You and your loved ones have been constantly in my prayers during this time of uncertainty and great anxiety. The threat of the Corona virus has given us the challenge to act responsibly and adhere to the government’s rule of social isolation and distancing. Many of us may feel isolated, anxious and fearful with the news constantly offering us the most severe scenarios of the pandemic surrounding us. As your Pastor, my primary concern is the holiness, health and safety of our parishioners.
Here at St. Peter, though our church has been closed we have continued to broadcast our weekend Masses via Facebook, YouTube and in our parish Website. We have also posted our School Mass every Wednesday morning. I hope you have been able to join us in those celebrations and will continue to do so until we can all come together again.
Last weekend, the Diocese of Orlando sent us the video of Bishop John Noonan explaining what the guidelines will be once we re-open our church. We then linked the video in our website so I hope you have the chance to see it. The information on the video are all written and attached to this letter. Please kindly go over them so you will be made aware of the significant changes that will happen when we open back the doors of the church.
The Diocese of Orlando has given us the guidelines on the soft opening of our churches. Below is the schedule we shall follow:
Monday, May 11 to Friday, May 15 – St. Peter Church will begin to open using only 1 side door at the back facing the school. Appropriate distancing of 6 feet will be required. We shall put markers on each pew. The church will be open from 9 am to 3 pm for those who would like to come and pray but there will be no services. The Sacrament of Confession will be offered at 12 Noon for these 5 days ( May 11 – May 15 ).
Monday, May 18 to Friday, May, 29 – We will start to celebrate the Daily Mass and the church will be open to parishioners. Only the 2 side doors at the back will be open. Appropriate distancing of 6 feet will be required. Everyone is required to adhere to the markings placed on the pews. If you have masks, please kindly wear them when you come to Mass. People may be denied upon arrival or asked to leave the church if the numbers become greater than social distancing would allow. The Church will close after the Daily Mass.
Saturday, May 30 & Sunday, May 31 – St. Peter will begin to celebrate the weekend Masses. Only the 2 side doors at the back will be open. Appropriate distancing of 6 feet will be required. Everyone is required to adhere to the markings placed on the pews. If you have masks, please kindly wear them when you come to Mass.
We encourage you to use your offertory envelopes, if you have not subscribed to the monthly envelopes mailed to the households, please kindly use one from your home as there will be no envelopes or pens usually provided on the pews. If you are able to do electronic giving at this time, we would like to encourage you to do so by going to our website – StPeterDeland.org Doing so will be more convenient to you. Many of our parishioners are facing significant financial hardships at this difficult time. Your online support will make a critical difference.
The passing of the Offertory baskets during Mass is not possible at this time of restrictions. You may place your gift into the basket upon entering the Church. The basket will be placed in the middle of the church, opposite the table for the Offertory gifts. No gift is too small for those who care. Our parish continues to be dependent upon your weekly gifts to fulfill its ministry during this challenging time.
We will be dis-infecting the pews after every mass, so we would like to ask everyone to immediately leave the church after the final blessing in order to give enough time for the sanitizing. We would also ask everyone not to come very early for the Mass, as you will not be allowed to enter before the disinfecting is finished. I thank you for your patience.
Lastly, with this mandatory distancing of 6 feet, we can only accommodate less than 200 people at each mass. It is important that everyone pre-register for the mass you wish to attend. Please return the attached schedule with the mass that you have chosen to attend. Please remember signing up for mass is on a first come first served basis for everyone, as it will be difficult to reserve seating for you without pre-registering for mass.
As our office is still closed at this time, we can only accommodate the pre-registration through the following:
- Returning the attached schedule by mail. (No later than Friday, May 22nd)
- Sign up through Flocknote. ( No later than Friday, May 22nd)
Text: speed to 84576. Please enter your phone number, and email address. Select “Parish” for group to join.
- Sign up though our Parish Web-site – StPeterDeland.org/reopening ( No later than May 22nd )
We are committed to continuing the good work of our parish and school at this time. We want to thank each of you for the many ways you support our mission. I look forward to celebrating the Holy Mass with you again soon.
I ask you to join me in prayer for the repose of the souls of those who have died, for the recovery of those who are sick, for the strength of the healthcare workers and caregivers, and for the end to this health crisis. Please be assured of my prayers for all of you, our St. Peter parishioners, and know that we are here for you.
Fr. Gilbert Medina, Pastor