Beginning on Friday, May 28th, those participating in Mass, who are vaccinated against COVID-19, are no longer required to wear masks. Those who are not yet vaccinated are encouraged to wear masks in accord with CDC guidelines. Obviously, anyone who desires to still wear a mask is permitted to do so and I encourage all parishioners and visitors to get vaccinated. In addition, all pews will be opened for seating. Per the governor’s statement, all social distancing requirements are lifted for celebrations that take place in our churches. We will also return to full capacity for seating.
In an abundance of caution – priests, deacons and Extraordinary Ministers of Communion will not only wash their hands before and after Mass, but will also continue to use hand sanitizer immediately before the distribution of Holy Communion. I have also asked priests, deacons, and Eucharistic Ministers to continue to wear masks when they distribute communion for a few more weeks.
Live streaming of the Mass at St. Damien will end after this weekend. Please see the notice below. I offer a tremendous word of gratitude to Max and Sam Buondonno for their dedicated and expert ministry of streaming the Mass since the pandemic began.
NOTICE OF OBLIGATION
Beginning with the Vigil celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Saturday, June 5th, the faithful are once again obliged to participate in Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Anyone who has a concern about returning to Mass should discuss the matter with his or her pastor or confessor.
In addition, I am pleased to announce that Bishop Sullivan has assigned Deacon Steve Robbins to St. Damien Parish. Deacon Steve was ordained a transitional deacon two weeks ago by Bishop Sullivan and will complete his seminary formation this upcoming year at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, NY. Steve will be with us for the summer before returning to St. Joseph for his final year of preparation for priesthood. He will then return to St. Damien for Christmas and Easter and, hopefully, be ordained a priest one year from now.
Deacon Steve is from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Lindenwold and completed minor seminary at St. Andrew College Seminary at Seton Hall University before beginning his theological studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary.
Please feel free to reach out to Deacon Steve to welcome him to our parish community. firstname.lastname@example.org