Dear Cathedral Parish Family,
I am so excited that we will be able to hold Masses open to the public beginning on Pentecost weekend, May 30-31. This is a wonderful way to celebrate the birthday of the Church when the Holy Spirit sent the Apostles out of a locked room to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ risen from the dead. We have missed seeing you all and are so eager to be able to share the gift of the Eucharist once again. Bishop Stika has issued a set of directives to guide us in taking all of the necessary precautions so that our public worship can occur in a safe and responsible way. He has given each parish the ability to adapt these directives as needed to accommodate the local circumstances of each parish and so our guidelines may look a little different than those published by the Diocese.
I know that many of you generously volunteer for ministry at Mass as an Altar Server, Lector, Extraordinary Minister of Communion, or Choir Member. As we are preparing for public Masses again, I am sure that many of you are looking forward to resuming your service to our community. Your dedication and generosity are inspiring. I know it will be a disappointment to you that at the beginning of public Masses, we will not be able to return to the regular practice of your ministries. We do believe that there will be a time in the near future when this will be possible. As we learn from the experience of our public Masses, we will be looking for ways to return to the practice of the various liturgical ministries.
In the immediate future, we will be limiting access to the Sanctuary area to Priests, Deacons, Designated Acolytes, Cantors, and Sacristans. The ministries in the Sanctuary area do not accommodate the wearing of masks, so it will not be possible yet to have a return to all of the ministries we are accustomed to until we reach a point where the need for masks for the congregation is no longer necessary. Please join me in praying for continued healing of our nation from this virus and from the social distancing measures that are deemed necessary for now.
Until we reach that time, I would invite you to consider volunteering as an usher to help with the increased duties of directing parishioners to the communion stations and an orderly arrival and departure process for public Masses. We will be providing additional training for anyone who will be serving in this capacity. If you would like to volunteer in this capacity, you can let Tom and Jackie Foster firstname.lastname@example.org know of your desire, and we will schedule a time for training with you.
To help us prepare for Pentecost weekend, we are asking everyone to use the Signup Genius (https://shcathedral.
On Sunday, we will have the regularly scheduled Masses at 7:30 am, 9 am, 11 am, and 1 pm in Spanish. Our maximum capacity at first will be 50% of normal seating, and so if there is a need, we will add Masses in Cathedral Hall to accommodate all of those wishing to attend.
Below is the Pastoral letter from Bishop Stika and the guidelines that will be used to provide a safe experience for those who wish to attend Mass. Please continue to pray for the courage and wisdom of the Holy Spirit as we prepare for the beginning of public Masses and know that we are so excited to see you all.
Very Rev. David A. Boettner, V.G.
Vicar General- Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville
Rector- Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus