Our Response to the City’s Safer at Home Plan

November 19, 2020

Dear Saint Raymond Family,

Praise God for His goodness and mercy that have seen us through each day of this pandemic and will continue to guide, protect, and comfort us!

As you are aware, the City of Philadelphia issued their Safer at Home Guidelines this week as the reported cases of the virus continue to rise. While none of us wanted to see the closing of schools, businesses, and activities again, hopefully with these measures and the promised vaccines, we will be able to taste victory early in the new year. Of course, the decision by the City does have an impact on our worship at Saint Raymond. Therefore, I share with you the following:

We will continue to have Mass on Saturday at 5 pm and Sunday at 8 am and 10 am. The Daily Mass will continue at 8 am Monday to Thursday and Saturday Mornings. Attending Daily Mass has become a popular choice for many in place of the Sunday Mass as the fewer number of people allows for greater distancing.

Our Parish Office will continue to be open to serve your needs from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday thru Friday.

We will NOT require people to register (or sign up) for Mass as we did earlier in the year. Rather, when you arrive for Mass, you will be asked to sign our logbook (date, time, name, and phone number). Should we become aware of a person who tests COVID positive, we will be able to inform those who were in the Church at the same time (the custom known as “Contact Tracing”).

Our wonderful volunteers on the RESTORE Team will continue to guide you as you enter the Church, sign our logbook, sanitize your hands, and maintain social distancing and proper wearing of masks throughout your experience of worship. Our Church will continue to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between Masses and during the week.

I believe that given the likelihood of decreased numbers (as many choose to worship from home at this time), we will be able to welcome those who arrive and allow them to worship from the Church, Choir Loft, or ample space in the School Hall.

As we monitor attendance, we may adjust the manner in which Holy Communion is distributed and the manner in which we dismiss people after Holy Mass.At the 10 am Mass, Father Chris will offer Holy Communion on the front steps of the Church to those who are worshipping via Live Stream in their cars. Those who worship from home and would like to receive Holy Communion at some time during the week are welcome to call the Parish Office and schedule a time with Father Chris. As Catholics, we know the abundant grace we receive through the Holy Eucharist and I do not want you to be deprived of this grace.

Father Chris will continue to be available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) before Masses. He will be in the Confessional Space in the sacristy.

Friends, if you have concerns about your safety, please worship from home at the 10 am Mass (or find a Mass on TV or the internet). This allows you to remain connected to the Lord in Sunday worship, essential to the heart of every Christian. Archbishop Perez’s “lifting of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass” remains in effect. I want you to feel safe and remain healthy. Like all things, except God’s love, this too shall pass!

Please join our Catholic Call to Prayer Monday to Friday as a means of remaining faithful and hopeful at this challenging time. Please call TOLL-FREE 1-877-309-2073, Enter Code 319-414-445# (then press # again when prompted). Join at 6:30 am: This call lasts 5-7 minutes and can have an amazing impact at the start of your day, reflecting on God’s WORD!! Join at NOON: We will pray the Angelus, Psalm 91, and intercessory prayer for those in need and beg God that His mighty power save us from this wretched virus. 

As we have all learned throughout these months, these plans are subject to change. I will seek to keep you informed and appreciate your feedback. Should you have concerns or questions, do not hesitate to contact me via email or by phone (215-549-3760).

As we approach Thanksgiving, please know that I am most grateful for you and your goodness. While this holiday will be different from others, we must heed the words of Scripture and continue to find reasons to be thankful. I know it will not take you long to find many people, things, and graces for which you give thanks!

Father Christopher M. Walsh, Pastor