From: Fr. Jim DeBruycker
June 4, 2021
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, is supposed to have authored the quote that “Change is the only constant”. That comes to mind now because in mid-May I wrote that we would begin our opening for weekend Masses in the Church in late June and our Gym Masses on August 1. Well, good ol’ Heraclitus was right, we’re changing our plans.
This week, with the lifting of the mask mandate in Minneapolis, we made the decision to begin the Saturday, 5 p.m. Mass on June 19 and our Sunday 7:45 Mass on June 20. We will start our Sunday 9 and 11 a.m. Masses in the Gym on July 4. I can’t believe that me, a definite introvert, am really excited about reopening and being able to visit – live and in-person - with the SJA community again! Our video Masses are great but now I get to look out and see a congregation sitting in front of me – and, of course, I’ll be able to hear them laughing at my attempts to be funny. Wow!!
Reopening is going to present some challenges and our primary commitments are to be welcoming and safe. First of all, while masks will not be required, we encourage those who want to wear them to do so. Also, we will set-up areas of the gym with greater spacing between chairs for those who want to maintain some social distancing.
Between Masses, in the Gym and the Welcome Center, our HVAC system will go through a process that brings in fresh air. This has to be done with the areas as empty as possible. At the same time, we will be sanitizing the Gym so we will be asking those attending the 9 a.m. Mass to leave the Gym and the Welcome Center immediately after Mass. We will pray for bright sunny weather so that you can continue visiting outside on the plaza.
A downside during the reopening and for the foreseeable future is – brace yourself – we will not be serving coffee and cookies after the Masses. We made this decision based on Department of Health recommendations. They suggest that serving as we do leads to groups congregating around the area and that should be avoided.
While we’ve been through a lot during these past 15 plus months trying to begin to “live” again has its own challenges. At SJA we’re getting input relative to reopening from the CDC, Minnesota Department of Health, and the Archdiocese, among others. It’s all been helpful, if a bit contradictory sometimes so we’ve taken to reading, digesting and discussing it – then trying to make the best decisions possible. We appreciate your patience as we go through this process.
So, now it’s time to reopen, regroup and reacquaint. The spirit of SJA is being reignited after way too long. It will be good to see one another again. Until then let’s keep praying for each other and, most importantly, for peace – near us and around the world.