Re-Engaging Our PARISH LIFE
OUR LADY OF THE WOODS ROMAN CATHOLIC PARISH
The following are guidelines to help us “enter into” a re-engagement of our parish life. Please remember they are tentative, open at times for discussion, not necessarily exhaustive and always a continuous evolving process. Please also remember they work within the framework of the directives given by the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Executive Orders of the Governor. This is simply to be considered a plan/guide/frame-work for our own parish.
The Archdiocese of Detroit has allowed for the re-opening within our parishes of public worship beginning May 19th, 2020, providing the necessary guidelines to follow, and, keeping in mind the Executive Order of the Governor of the State of Michigan 2020-77 (COVID19) which states:
- Nothing in this order should be taken to supersede another executive order or directive that is in effect, except to the extent this order imposes more stringent limitations on in-person work, activities, and interactions. Consistent with prior guidance, neither a place of religious worship nor its owner is subject to penalty under section 20 of this order for allowing religious worship at such place. No individual is subject to penalty under section 20 of this order for engaging in or traveling to engage in religious worship at a place of religious worship, or for violating section 15(a) of this order.
Archbishop Vigneron has described the process within the pandemic as containing three stages: RESPOND – STABILIZE – ADVANCE. Respond: how the parish and the AOD have guided and placed directives during the initial stage and throughout the pandemic thus far; Stabilize: what we are presently doing to re-open in a gradual, safe process; Advance: what the future plans hold for the archdiocese in light of the reality and experience we are going through. THE ARCHDIOCESE AND ITS PARISHES ARE IN THE STABILIZING STAGE.
THE STABILIZING STAGE FOR Our Lady of the Woods:
The general trend that should be sensed in these three parts of the process:
First movement: limited re-opening, centered more around public worship
Second movement: continued, limited re-opening in more areas, still smaller groups with no defined datelines.
Third movement: back into fuller parish life.
REMEMBER: The situation can change depending on the circumstances, the AOD and State Executive Orders.
PART ONE: INITIATED NOW (From May 19th, 2020)
- Weekday Masses:
- on Tuesdays and Fridays in the main church at 9 am
- on Wednesdays – live stream (from Chapel). Parishioners may still pray privately in main church.
- Sacrament of Reconciliation at 3 pm until 3:30 pm
- 4 pm Public Mass in main church
- 9 am and 11 am Public Masses (both Masses live stream in main church)
- Church OPEN MONDAYS THROUGH FRIDAYS for private prayer:
- Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays: 9 am until 4 pm
- Tuesdays and Fridays: 9:45 am until 4 pm
- All non-liturgical gatherings/meetings are still suspended. If you wish to organize a ZOOM meeting you are highly encouraged. Please arrange with Jason Buckley.
- Parish Office remains closed, although parish staff can be contacted through emails/phone messages.
- Funerals can be arranged with the AOD directives through the parish office.
- Minimal Liturgical Ministers are involved in liturgical celebrations…
- Homebound Ministries connects through phone calls, emails, sending cards, etc.
- Public Rosary before the Masses is suspended…(private rosaries are encouraged)
- Liturgical Music is limited…
- St. Vincent de Paul continues with the guidelines put in place.
- Anointing of the Sick done on a limited and necessary basis.
- ZOOM MEETINGS for parish staff, Pastoral Council, Parish Finance, the 45th Anniversary Committee and other parish organizations.
OVERFLOW CONTINGENCY PLANS: (if necessary)
PLAN A IF NEEDED – into the Parish Social Hall
THEN PLAN B IF NEEDED – households go to their cars and live stream Mass on their i-phones or smart phones in the parish parking lot
Holy Communion will be distributed AFTER THE MASS to these groups.
PART TWO: THE NEXT STEP IN “STABILIZING” PARISH LIFE AT OLOW TBA:
The continued “re-opening” of parish life will include in various moments down the road the following steps, but it must be noted, it will continue to rely on the directives of the Archdiocese of Detroit, keeping also in mind the State Executive Orders. This step will be slow, and gradual and will include:
- Adding of the Monday and Thursday weekday Masses at 9 am
- Opening of the Parish Office, certain days and times during the week
- Baptisms, Weddings, First Communion and Confirmation celebrations that were suppose to have taken place in May – October 2020 will all be arranged.
- Smaller Groups of Liturgical Ministers reinstated…including an acolyte
- Small gatherings of parish organizations with meetings
- Small Adult Faith Formation Groups with limited participants
- The Faith Formation Program for the RCIA Adults, Teens and Children will be arranged.
- Small groups for Baptism and Marriage Preparation will be offered.
- Keeping in mind that we are a Marian parish: the Rosary returns before various Masses in the parish
- Homebound Ministries continues through phone calls, emails, sending cards…NO INDIVIDUAL VISITS OR INSTITUTION VISITING (possible exceptions made through pastor and Coordinator of Homebound ministries IF NECESSARY…)
- Small group with proper directives may say the Rosary at the Outside Marian Statue…any gatherings before this are not under the auspices of the parish, and the parish takes no responsibility
- Vincent de Paul continues with the guidelines put into place for the continued food outreach…
- PARISH ZOOM MEETINGS continue for pastoral council, parish finance, the 45th Anniversary Committee and other parish organizations. Smaller sub-committees could meet with ten or less people WHEN THIS SECOND PART OF STABILIZING OF PARISH GOES INTO EFFECT….
PART THREE IN STABILIZING PARISH LIFE AT OLOW:
- Parish office hours return to Mondays through Fridays, 9 am until 4 pm
- Re-opening of Adoration Chapel in the Faith Formation Building
- Re-opening of the Faith Formation Program for Grades One to Eight, and First Communion/First Reconciliation and Confirmation will be arranged.
- Larger Groups for meetings and other parish functions will be scheduled and arranged.
- Parish Choir returns…
- Counter Groups for the Weekend Collections resume…
- Full Roster of Liturgical Ministries is reinstated…liturgical music is maximized
- Homebound Ministries start individual visits and return to nursing homes and other parish sponsored sites WHEN DEEMED SAFE.
- Parish fund-raising and other parish sponsored events return as part of the pulse of parish life.
- Vincent de Paul moves into its full outreach program when deemed safe and appropriate…
- Coffee and Donuts resume after the 9 am Mass on Sundays beginning in January 2021.
Please be reminded that these “stabilizing” moments in our parish are not necessarily on a concrete time line; as the old adage reminds us: “Time will tell.” But, they at least give us a framework to help navigate through as our local parish continues to grow and celebrate its communal faith life.
The summer months are coming upon us, so the pace and rhythm of parish life naturally slows down during these months anyways. I do not see Part Three of Stabilizing our parish happening anytime soon, or even within the summer months.
PLEASE BE REMINDED AT THIS TIME WE ARE IN PART ONE OF OUR STABILIZING STAGE FOR OUR PARISH – beginning May 19th, 2020.
Our parish custodian, along with our parish maintenance team and other parish staff are helping to ensure thorough cleaning and proper sanitizing between Masses. We ask you to do your part, too, by bringing masks, hand sanitizer, and take other necessary precautions.
“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
And, let us remember as the OLOW Parish Faith Community: “May we grow back not to what was but instead towards what we can become.”
Faithfully in Christ, Fr. Bob