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Updated as of 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, July 25, 2021

DIOCESE OF TRENTON ANNOUNCES COVID PROTOCOL CHANGES

On May 26, 2021 the Diocese of Trenton announced a set of protocol changes as the faithful are encouraged to return to in-church Masses. To review the revised protocols


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The revised protocols will be put into effect at St. Michael's in accordance with the Diocese guidelines and in an orderly and careful manner as mandated. The parish's parking lot Masses will continue on the weekends of May 29-30 and June 5-6 and a timetable will be announced for the phasing-out and discontinuation of the parking lot Masses at St. Michael's. Let us be grateful that the end of the pandemic is in sight. May God bless us all.
A PRO-LIFE MESSAGE AND REQUEST FROM OUR BISHOP DAVID M. O’CONNELL

As Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, I encourage all our Catholic clergy, religious and lay faithful to sign a petition to protect congressional legislative provisions in support of life: http://www..NoTaxpayerAbortion.com. Please access the New Jersey Catholic Conference website: https://njcatholic.org/protecting-the-hyde-amendment and also read the Action Alerts posted on the NJCC website: https://njcatholic.org.

Please consider writing letters in strong support of pro-life protections to our New Jersey senators and congressmen and congresswomen. Thank you and may God bless and protect you all, born and unborn.

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Schedule of All Weekend Masses

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TODAY'S FR. ALPHONSE CONCERT POSTPONED

Today's performance by Fr. Alphonse Stephenson and His 1940s Big Band has been postponed due to the current weather forecast calling for thunderstorms this afternoon in the St. Michael's area. The concert has been re-scheduled to Sunday, August 8 at 5:00 p.m. on the front lawn of the church. Thank you for your interest in this concert. Please pray for good weather on the rain date. Prayers and best wishes to all for a blessed first-ever World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. St. Anne and St. Joachim (grandparents of Jesus) and St. Michael, pray for us.

GRADUAL RESTORATION OF IN‐CHURCH PUBLIC MASSES (WITH CONGREGANTS) AND TEMPORARY CONTINUATION OF PARKING LOT MASSES (continued)

Liturgical-Pastoral Directives in a Time of Pandemic;

Limited Public Celebration of the Mass and Sacraments in Church

As announced at the top of the home page and in the parish bulletin of June 7, the time has arrived for a cautious and gradual restoration of in-church Masses and scheduled in-church Confessions.  The COVID-19 pandemic is by no means “over” and precautions and guidelines will need to be followed for some time.  With a positive and thankful and prayerful outlook, we are implementing here at St. Michael’s the directives and guidelines published by Bishop O’Connell on May 30, 2020 for the Diocese of Trenton.  Those directives may be read in their entirety (and are highly recommended reading) at the Diocese website at  https://dioceseoftrenton.org/news/dates-announced-for-limited-in-church-masses-sacraments.    The directives have been formulated – and will be implemented – with the spiritual welfare of the faithful in mind as well the health and safety of the faithful and the clergy.  The Bishop has recently written, “The Catholic faithful need the Eucharist for their spiritual health and well-being. It is an essential part of Catholic life and we cannot continue to do without the Eucharist and other sacraments indefinitely.”   A balancing of multiple interests and factors is and will be necessary.  Cooperation, patience, mutual respect, and prudence is requested of all.  Bishop O’Connell and his advisors have generated the directives and guidelines after consultation with the Governor and his staff, public health experts, parish priests, and others.   

Let’s please keep in mind – as the Bishop has reminded us – that COVID-19 has not gone away.  It is highly communicable, especially indoors.  Accordingly, we will follow here at St. Michael’s the mask, social distancing, no physical contact, church sanitization, hand washing precautions, and other precautions strictly.  The seating occupancy for the time being will be limited as follows and may be a difficult adjustment for some.  The church doors will open at 20 minutes prior to the start time of the Mass.   The parish priests, ushers, and parish staff will determine whether and when the seating capacity has been reached at a given indoor Mass and at that point no other persons will be admitted to the building for the obvious health and safety reasons.  Please remember that both the Upper Church and the Lower Church will be available when we celebate these in-church Masses.  We look forward to everyone’s cooperation and patience as we as grow into these procedures; growing pains are foreseeable and likely; the Holy Spirit will help us and guide us.    

  • In the Upper Church: 48 for Sunday Masses (1/3 capacity adjusted downward for the 6-foot radius social distancing rule) and 48 for weekday Masses and other occasions.
  • In the Lower Church: 50 for Sunday Masses (1/3 capacity adjusted downward for the 6-foot radius social distancing rule) and 50 for weekday Masses and other occasions).

Pastors have been given the responsibility to determine the most fair and effective ways to ensure proper observance of the seating capacity numbers.

Again as noted above, cooperation, patience, mutual respect, and prudence is requested of all.  Bishop O’Connell has emphasized that there is “NO requirement for every parish to offer [indoor, in-church] Mass if there are impediments to making it work.”  As we go forward with the implementation of the directives and “grow into them” we’ll do our best to meet all needs while still worshiping and praying and celebrating the Sacraments within the applicable parameters.

During these first weeks of the newest COVID-19 directives (published May 30) we will celebrate the Mass both:

  • (a) outdoors in the parking lot as we have since May 23 with Holy Communion distributed “in-car” at the conclusion of those parking lot Masses (dates and times as listed above); and
  • (b) in the Upper Church with the Mass closed-circuit televised for viewing in the Lower Church (dates and times as listed above). Holy Communion to be distributed to the congregants in the Upper Church and to the congregants in the Lower Church.  No outdoor parking lot in-car Communion as part of these indoor, in-church Masses. 

And during these first weeks of the May 30 directives we have resumed scheduled Confessions on the timetable that you will find on the first page of this website's home page and in the parish bulletin which is also available on this parish website.  We ask all penitents to be familiar with and to follow the Confession-related guidelines that follow below.  Confession has always been available during the pandemic lockdown for urgent needs and by appointment and that by-appointment availability of the parish priests will continue as well.

All of the Confession times listed above will be conducted outdoors on the church courtyard or (in the event of inclement weather) on the portico on the north side of the church.  The confessionals in the church will not be used for any of these Confession times.

Other points of information to please take note of include:

  • The Bishop’s The dispensation from Sunday/Holy Day Mass obligation remains in effect until Monday, September 7 (unless otherwise announced).
  • The fulfillment of the Easter Duty may be accomplished before the First Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2020. Guidance Details regarding the Easter Duty may be found at at the Diocese website at https://dioceseoftrenton.org/news/dates-announced-for-limited-in-church-masses-sacraments
  • Those who are hesitant or fearful because of COVID 19 concerns as well as those with a COVID 19 diagnosis or symptoms, those who may be asymptomatic carriers, those not feeling well, those with underlying health conditions or those in a high risk category should stay home and avoid any public gathering.
  • We have been directed to keep in mind the amount of time necessary to sanitize the church between all in-church Masses.
  • Group devotional observances and parish social gatherings continue to be suspended until further notice from the Diocese.
  • No public gatherings or greetings before or after Masses, at church entrances/exits or on parish property are permitted.
  • All missals, hymnals, printed materials (e.g. parish Sunday bulletins), pamphlets, etc., must be removed from churches.
  • Sanitation of church before and after each Mass, using approved methods is mandatory.
  • Holy Water fonts or receptacles are to remain empty.
  • Public restrooms will remain closed for the time being.
  • A cantor may sing from the choir loft, or from the sanctuary if behind a clear screen. Congregational singing is discouraged to prevent any possible spread of COVID 19. Choirs are not to be used.
  • Masks must be worn at all indoor/outdoor public Masses; regular hand washing with soap/water or alcohol-based sanitizer brought from home should take place; social distancing (6 feet) between groups of people from the same household and any other groups/individuals and between single individuals must be maintained at all indoor/outdoor Masses.
  • Communion in the hand is strongly preferred. Where Communion is given on the tongue, the priest must sanitize his hands between communicants.  Here at St. Michael’s during the in-church Masses, the priest or Eucharistic Minister will come to the Communicants in their pews to give Communion; he or she will stand in the empty/roped-off  pew in front of the Communicants and side-step from person to person.  No one will need to leave his or her pew to receive Communion during these Masses.  
  • Priests will not receive or gather the faithful after the indoor, in-church Masses for the time being and will exit the sanctuary at the conclusion of Mass via the door to the sacristy.
  • The use of altar servers during Mass will be limited.

REGARDING THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION (CONFESSION):

The guidelines that we will follow include:

  • The confessionals will not be used.
  • Outdoor confessions are permitted, even encouraged.
  • The arrangements for confessions will safeguard the health of both priest and penitent, respecting the dignity and confidentiality of the Sacrament.
  • Penitents are to observe social distancing when waiting in line.
  • Masks must be worn by priest and penitent.
  • The chair or kneeler used by the penitent will be sanitized after each use.
  • “Drive-up” confessions are permitted provided they are arranged to facilitate an orderly and proper administration of the Sacrament, observing the norms for social distancing and protecting the confidentiality of the Sacrament. The Sacrament may only be celebrated with one person in the vehicle.
  • General absolution is not permitted in the Diocese of Trenton, unless explicitly permitted by the Bishop according to the norms of Canon Law.

The Diocese’s directives regarding baptisms, weddings, funerals, and Anointing of the Sick will be summarized in next Sunday’s parish bulletin and posted on the parish website.

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FAITHDIRECT


Healing After Abortion: 

Do you know someone who is carrying the grief of a past abortion?  There is always hope.  The pain and sorrow of abortion does not need to endure for a lifetime. A “Day of Prayer and  Healing” offers the opportunity to experience the love and mercy of God and to respond to His invitation to begin the journey of healing the wound of abortion. For upcoming dates, locations, and confidential registration, or just to talk to a Sister, please call the Sisters of Life at (866)-575-0075 (toll free) orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 

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Know someone needing assistance with food, housing, drug addiction, mental health, domestic violence or immigration? Contact Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton.

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Bishop O'Connell's Pastoral
Letter On the Presence of God


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 U.S. Bishops' Statement on Moral Concerns with
Using the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine


The U.S. Conference of Catholice Bishops (USCCB) issued a Statement on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 regarding moral concerns with using the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. The Statement may be accessed by clicking below. The Statement says in part, "if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s." The moral concern arises because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was developed and tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines. The USCCB Statement also quotes the judgment of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican that "when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available... it is morally acceptable to receive Covid19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process."


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St. Michael's Church Presents  Handel's Messiah  A Virtual Sing-Along with an Encore Medley of Christmas Carols