Return To Worship: New Guidelines For Phase One

All parishioners are required to register for the Mass time of their choice at the link below. A max of 75 people are allowed in any one Mass. Each family member’s name needs to be listed in the “My Comments” space. MASKS ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND.

My Brothers and Sisters:

Welcome back to the weekend and daily Eucharist celebrations. Governor Edwards has lifted the ban of our gathering due to the Coronavirus. However, this does not mean that we will not have some restrictions. The Governor has asked that 25% of each church’s total capacity be allowed per mass. St. Gabriel Church’s total seating capacity is 300 and 25% of 300 is 75. Therefore the total attendance allowed by law at each of our masses would be 75 people. No one would be allowed to enter after we reach that number. Please understand the need to keep to the restrictions.

Your pastoral team of Fr. Charlie and Deacon Kirk, have been meeting and working out strategies to help accommodate ways in which we can comply to the Governor’s mandate. After much prayer and deliberation we have come up with the following weekend schedule. We will have two Saturday vigil masses, our normal 4PM vigil will remain as is and we will add a 6PM vigil. Our Sunday Eucharist times will change. The 7AM will be moved up to 8AM and we will move the 10:15AM back to 10AM. This time change is not permanent. This schedule is for this phase. Now when you do the math the total attendance allowed for these four masses is 300. This presents a problem.

Our average weekend attendance is approximately 430 attendees. Another problem that we have is that Sacred Heart in Carville will not be available. I understand that their facility is closed to the general public during the coronavirus pandemic. We are not the only parish that is having a problem with providing services as well as keeping within the allowable attendees. To aid us in meeting our Sunday obligation, Bishop Duca has given permission to use the weekday Eucharist celebrations. We will celebrate Eucharist from Tuesday through Friday at 8 AM in St. Gabriel Church. Now we realize that this too, may be a problem for some due to their work schedule. With this in mind, we will add a Thursday evening mass at 6:30 at St. Gabriel. Please remember the total capacity for mass is 75.

To help us get an idea of what mass you would wish to attend, we are going to use two methods. The preferred method is our “Sign Up Genius” which will be posted on our website. For those who do not have a computer, please phone either Michelle Tubre at (225) 283-3919 or Roz Duplantis at (225) 302-0860 or (225) 242-0218 to register. Using either method you will need to include the name of each family member who will attend mass. Through either method, you may choose your preference of mass time. If you are not registered, you may be denied entrance to the church.

If you are able to get your preferred mass time, I am asking you to please be as faithful to it as you can. This commitment will prevent a good deal of confusion and hard feelings. I know that we all have our favorite mass times and favorite places to sit during mass, but please be understanding in regards to this matter and remember we are at mass once again preparing to receive our Lord. Having stated all the above, please remember the dispensation of the obligation to attend Sunday mass for all Catholics still remains in place in our diocese. Those of us with chronic diseases, the elderly and others with any type of sickness are asked to remain home.

Other than the new mass times, during this time period there are other changes that will be in place:

Deacon Kirk and Fr. Charlie will celebrate all liturgies and distribute Eucharist
No Eucharist Ministers will be assigned.
It is highly encouraged that all receive the Body of Christ in the hand
The precious blood will not be offered
There will be one lector per mass and he/she will come forward from their pew
No altar servers at this point of phase #1. We will miss you and you will be back asap.
Chalice, corporal, wine & water will be on credence table prior to Eucharist
No gift bearers
The continued ban of no communion to the sick or homebound is still in place
No cushion on pews
No choir/cantor and organist only
No children’s church
No missalettes
No physical handshake of peace, but other forms of acknowledgement are encouraged
Seating in pews will be dispersed and proper distance will be assured
There will be proper spacing in pews and between pews
After each Eucharist service the church will be sanitized.
Please do not sit in the corded off pews
When leaving church we ask that you do not congregate.

We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to help sanitize the church after each mass as well as usher people prior to mass. Please contact Fr. Charlie, Deacon Kirk or Roz and Michelle Tubre or Barbara at the church office.

I realize that the “new normal” will take some adjusting and I ask that we will all be patient an understanding. What makes me so grateful is that we as the Christian Catholic Community of St. Gabriel will have an opportunity to come together again and celebrate who we are, THE BODY OF CHRIST, THE PEOPLE OF GOD.