This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost; we recall the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. It is the fiftieth day of Easter. The Apostles were Jews, and they would celebrate the Jewish Feast of Weeks on the fiftieth day after Passover. The Feast of Weeks celebrated offering the first fruits of the corn harvest to God, and the giving of the Law to Moses.
The OLH Reopening Team and I are working to be certified for Phase I this weekend; we hope to have Confessions on Saturday for ten people. We have enough volunteers to reopen for Phase I, but I am concerned for Phase II which adds Public Mass because we will have to ensure that we have volunteers for each Mass.
Please note that the Archdiocese of Chicago has updated its’ guidelines for volunteers: It is recommended that parishes focus on finding and recruiting volunteers that are not older than 65, and without underlying medical conditions; however, if individuals in those groups choose to volunteer understanding the inherent risks, they may do so at the discretion of the Parish Reopening Leadership Team.
To begin preparing for Phase II, if you regularly attend a particular Mass and would like to volunteer, please E-mail the Rectory. We need volunteers to serve on our Setup, Greeting, and Cleaning Teams. I have listed an overview of the duties below:
¨ Setup Team: Volunteers will ensure that: all supplies needed for each sacramental celebration/ gathering are ready for use, entrances and exits are marked and propped physically open prior to attendees’ arrival/departure, windows are opened, restrooms are stocked and managed, etc. They will ensure hand sanitizer is available, and that pews are marked off according to social distancing guidelines.
¨ Greeting Team: Greeters will assist in managing the flow of congregants as they enter the Church, participate in the liturgy/sacrament, and exit the Church. Team members will combine some of the functions of an Usher, such as directing participants to appropriate seating/waiting areas, but will include additional responsibilities, including, but not limited to, making sure attendees use hand sanitizer upon entering, are wearing a mask, and are reminded not to enter if ill. Given the circumstances, Greeters will need to be tactful and firm, paying careful attention to all people on-site. To support Parish Greeter Teams, rudimentary training tips on handling difficult situations will be provided.
¨ Cleaning Team: These volunteers will help maintain and clean essential and trafficked areas of the Church before and after the Church has been used. Masks and gloves will be provided, if necessary, in addition to approved cleaning/disinfecting supplies. Per the certification process, parishes will need to develop appropriate schedules and verification methods to ensure cleaning occurs at the proper times relative to when congregants arrive and leave the Church building.
As we celebrate Pentecost, pray to know where God is leading you, and if the Lord is calling you to serve on one of our Teams; pray also for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the world.