St. Joseph, Key West
Corona Virus Update
The gathering of the community for the celebration of the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic life. As much as you miss gathering and celebrating the Eucharist we miss seeing you and celebrating with you. Our actions to this date have been informed by science, that is the CDC, Iowa Department of Public Health, and local health officials. As we continue, in solidarity, absence from the celebration of the Eucharist, we do so as an act of charity for the health and well being of all. We do not have an official date for reopening yet. We will communicate that to you as soon as we can! In the meantime I offer the below communication to help answer any questions or concerns that people may be having.
Preparing for worship together again:
Preliminary guidance - Notice from the Archdiocese will be released as we get closer to reopening.
Our planning for gathering together again has been guided by trying to keep what is called, "viral load," low in the building. What is viral load? Viral load can basically be summarized by the amount of virus one is exposed to times the time exposed. For example: in general conversation not much breath is expelled and it comes from the upper respiratory system. As a result the amount of virus expelled is lower than if one is singing, sneezing, coughing, or yelling. The viral load in general conversation is lower and it takes longer for someone to be exposed to enough virus to cause infection. For a great laymen's article on understanding this see the link below, "The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them"
The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them
Just like in a hospital room we will ask you to sanitize coming in and upon exiting. Killing anything on our hands will go along way in not transmitting virus to fomites (hard surfaces where it can be picked up by someone else). Hand sanitizer will be available at all doors (until hand sanitizer supplies are replenished at the distributor level we will be using gallon jugs with pumps on top.... PLEASE only use 1/4 to 1/2 a pump or you will have enough to last you until the next day)
Watch for these signs on the ends of pews. Every other pew will be closed and pews that are open will have occupancy limited to follow social distancing guidelines. Ushers will help us get used to this.
These signs will be posted along the bottom of the pews in the aisles to help us space ourselves out during the communion procession, which will be single file, and while we exit the church, helping to insure social distancing. Ushers will dismiss pews individually for communion and after worship is over.
Face masks do little to filter air coming into our lungs, however, they do a lot to help keep droplets from you getting into the air. We strongly encourage you to care for those around you and to help keep our worship space safe for those who are vulnerable by wearing a face covering.
Distribution of the Blessed Sacrament will be the Body of Christ only. Distribution of the Blood of Christ will be suspended until it can resume safely. We ask, for sanitary reasons, that all people receive the Precious Body in their hands and not on the tongue.
The Sign of Peace will be suspended.
Music. Some will love this, some may have some disappointment. Because singing and music is an important part of the worship experience I hate to banish it all together. At masses where we can schedule a single musician and a single cantor we will offer music but ask the assembly to refrain from joining in. Please feel free to hum or to meditate on the music during liturgy.
Hymnals and missalettes will be removed from pews.
We will need volunteers after every liturgy to help with wiping down pews, door knobs, and bathrooms. Please watch for a future flocknote asking for help and be generous with your time. This will be the only way to have multiple liturgies in a day, or even in a week for that matter.
I anticipate that the first few weeks back we won't reach capacity. We have set the basement up with chairs six feet apart and with video and sound. If we need to use this space we will also distribute Holy Communion down there as well to limit movement in the building and to accommodate those who would have difficulty with stairs.
The faithful will continue to be excused from their Sunday obligation so that those who are vulnerable may watch via live stream or EWTN without fear of incurring sin.
Should we begin reaching building capacity we will evaluate other options, for example: Offering masses in the evening during the week or finding some other fair way for admission so everyone has an equal opportunity to satisfy the spiritual hunger for the reception of the Eucharist.
Live streaming of masses will continue you can find live streams of our mass in several places. You can go to our YouTube channel and click the subscribe button to receive an email when we go live and to find the broadcast. That link is below:
Link to our YouTube channel
You can also find links to our live streams as well as live streams from the archdiocese on our website
or click the link below to go straight to our Corona Virus response page. On this page you will find links to live streams, faith formation for all, a plenary indulgence from the Vatican and much more information.
Our Corona Virus Response Page
We have been working hard to get ready to be together again. We are also trying to keep the environment and worship as normal as possible under the current circumstances. In all things we are doing our best to be charitable by doing all we can to protect the least among us. We ask that as we adapt and learn a few new ways of doing things that you will be charitable with us as well. I sincerely hope that this gives some hope for us gathering again, while at the same time assuring you that your safety during worship is our priority. As always those who are vulnerable, who are sick or have been sick, work in a high risk environment, or are nervous about being in groups in this time should stay home.
And finally, an appeal:
Our bills have not changed during this time. In fact there have been expenses in establishing live streaming, getting signage, hand sanitizer, etc. Please continue your giving if you are able. Thank you to those who have. And, if you are in a position to help offset those who cannot give at this time, please consider helping the community in this way. You may continue sending your giving to the parish office at 10204 Key West Drive, Dubuque, IA, or, you may call the office and request an ACH form to be mailed to you (recurring automatic deduction from your bank account), or, give through our secure website, the link is below:
Secure Online Giving
Please know of my continued prayers for all of you, for those who have been affected by this (have become ill, lost income, etc.), for those who are on the front lines (medical personnel, grocery store, pharmacy, convenience store employees), those who have died as a result of this, and an end to this pandemic.
I miss you and as I see some of you and hear of help that is being given in shopping, calling and checking in on each other, and delivery of food and necessities to those in need my hope is renewed in this time.
Please continue to pray for your priests and the decisions we are making in this time. The office has resumed their normal schedule of Monday through Friday 9am to 3pm. We ask that you conduct as much business as possible by phone and if you are coming in to please use our hand sanitizer and wear a face covering.
Fr. Rod Allers
Fr. Rod Allers
on Wednesday, May 20 at 7:59AM