Commonly Asked Questions
A: MASS ATTENDANCE:
1. When will public Masses begin again?
The weekend of May 23-24.
2. At what times will Masses be offered at Sacred Heart in Medford?
- Weekend (English) – Sat. 5:30 pm, Sun. 8:30 am and Noon
- Weekend (Spanish) – Sat. 7:00 pm, Sun. 10:15 am and 1:30 pm
- Weekend (Latin) – Sun. 3:30 pm
- Daily (English) – Mon. to Sat. at 10:00 am
- Mon. to Fri. at 6:00 pm
3. What about at St. Joseph Mission in Jacksonville?
Unfortunately, due to the physical distancing requirements we must comply with, it will not yet be possible to celebrate Mass at Jacksonville. The building is simply too small to allow more than about 8 people to attend. We will have to wait for those restrictions to be relaxed before we can resume ministry there.
4. What about scheduled confession times?
Until further notice, confessions are by appointment only. After we have resolved all of the challenges of setting up a sign-up system for Mass attendance, we will likely have multiple scheduled confession times in the Church during the week but this will take some time to establish.
5. Gov. Brown has established a crowd limit of 25 people or less for public events. With this limitation, how can people arrange to attend Mass?
Parish staff and volunteers are setting up an on-line sign-up system at our website, sacredheartmedford.org. You simply provide your name, contact number and indicate the Mass you wish to attend. We hope to have it available on our website by May 18-19 (Mon. or Tues.) This same list will be used to admit you into the building. If your name does not appear on the sign-up list, you will not be allowed to enter the Church.
6. Can I just fill out one sign-up for my entire household?
No. The system we will be setting up will require a separate sign-up for each individual who will be attending the Mass.
7. What if I do not have internet access? Is there an alternate way available for signing up?
Yes. You can call the parish office and have one of our staff members assist you in signing up on-line or you can drop in at the office and seek assistance that way.
8. How far in advance can I sign-up to attend a Mass?
We will keep a 4-week window open for reserving seats for Mass.
9. What is the latest I can sign-up for Mass?
We ask that you sign-up 48 hours prior to any Daily Mass you wish to attend and, for the weekend, that you sign-up no later than by Thursday at 5 pm.
10. Will there be a limit as to how many times I can attend Mass in a month?
Yes. Obviously, with the 25 person limit, there would be a maximum of only 150 people per weekend that could experience Sunday Mass. Another 275 people could attend Daily Mass per week. We have about 2000 households or more that we serve. I would ask that families limit themselves to one Sunday and/or one Daily Mass per month until the restrictions are relaxed.
11. Can I show up at the Church door (like stand-by at the airport) in case there is a vacancy or a no-show?
No. Archbishop Sample is adamant that we not allow this in order to insure we are in compliance with the law. His concern is that if one or more parishes openly challenge this restriction, they could invite further sanctions on all of our parishes.
12. What if I cannot get a reservation to attend Mass? Am I sinning?
No. The dispensation from Sunday Mass attendance will be in effect until this Covid-19 crisis is fully resolved. If you cannot attend Mass, you are asked to try to watch a Mass on TV or live-streamed via the internet and participate as you can in prayer and spiritual communion.
NOTE: We realize that this system is far from perfect and is very restrictive. When this 25-person-or-less limit was placed back in March, in fact, Archbishop Sample determined that public Mass would not be possible. We are offering it now, however, because nearly 6 weeks later, it is looking like this might continue to be the guideline for several months more. He has now changed his position and decided that some access to the Eucharist and to the holy sacrifice of the Mass is better than none. As we try to make due, I would ask for your patience and…please be kind to our staff who are trying to assist you. We are doing our best.
B: MASS SAFETY GUIDELINES:
1. If I am over 65 years of age or considered to be in an at-risk category for contracting Covid-19, am I prohibited from attending public Mass?
No. However, it is strongly recommended that you not attend public Mass until the medical risks have been reduced somewhat. If you do choose to attend, you are assuming your own risk in doing so.
2. Will it be required for me to wear a mask during the Mass?
No, but it is recommended. The priest will be required to wear a mask during the distribution of the Eucharist, however, as that is the only point during the Mass when the 6 ft. physical distancing restriction will be broken.
3. Will there be any restrictions in place as to how I may receive communion (on the tongue vs. in the hand)?
No. However, as receiving on the tongue is currently considered the more risky way, if you want to receive on the tongue you will be asked to come up for communion at the end of the line and allow those who will be receiving in the hand to go first. Also, the communion line will be single-file and 6 ft. apart. Please do not bunch up.
4. How will we enter the Church for Mass?
There will be only one door open for entrance before Mass and this will be the side door facing the Parish Hall (for better disabled access). The door will be opened about 15 minutes before Mass and the scheduled celebrant will let people in one-by-one after he has verified your name on the sign-up list. After Mass, you can depart from any door.
5. How about restroom access?
For better sanitation control, the Parish Hall restrooms will not be opened. Instead, you will be directed to use the restroom in the sacristy. Please exercise strict handwashing hygiene.
6. What other sanitation procedures will be in place to insure safety?
It should be emphasized that there is no risk-free approach to life and there never has been. However, there will also be cleaning stations with hand sanitizer available at all doors. We ask that everyone make use of these stations before and after Mass. Also, each attendee will be asked to assist by spraying/wiping down the location where they sat, after Mass, using the cleaning supplies we will provide. Also, refrain from shaking hands, gathering too closely with others before or after Mass, touching doorknobs and railing. Missalettes and cushions have been removed for greater safety, as well. And, finally, no collection will be taken up during the liturgy. Instead, a collection box will be in place in front of the Mary statue for people to place their offerings before or after Mass.
C. UNIQUE COVID-19 MASS PROCEDURES
1. Reduction of Ordinary Ministries:
To maximize the number of seats available for Mass attendance, we are trying to avoid the use of many trained lay ministers. For example, there will be no servers, no sacristan, no trained readers, no cantor, etc. Also, for safety, there will be no ushers to take up the collection and no gift bearers. The only exceptions will be using trained readers on the weekend and reserved spaces for our deacons, should they wish to serve.
2. Missionary Approach:
Along that same line of thinking, it becomes important, then to ask for volunteers from those who are present, especially to read. Please be open-minded about serving in this way.
3. Removal of Worship Materials:
Missalettes and paper bulletins will not be offered during this time of restriction as the Covid-19 virus does survive on surfaces. We will not have music anyway, for the time being. Please work on active listening as you will not be able to read along (unless you bring your own worship guide from home).
4. Physical Distancing:
Every other pew will be closed off to insure 6 ft. of distancing. The one exception being allowed is that families who live under the same roof can sit together. As previously stated, communion line will be single-file with people staying 6 ft. apart. If you visit with others before or after Mass, you will be asked to respect this distancing then as well.