As of June 20, 2021, Saint Stephen the Martyr parish will essentially be back to normal as the state of Pennsylvania has lifted virtually all of the restrictions regarding the COVID 19 virus with the masking requirement due to be lifted June 28th or when 70% of the population becomes vaccinated, whichever comes first. Fully vaccinated individual are not require to wear face coverings although those who are not vaccinated are encouraged to do so. The Holy Eucharist will be distributed via intinction with the consecrated host dipped into the precious blood of Christ and placed on the tongue of the individual receiving the sacrament. The priest will continue to disinfect his fingers between each recipient and will wear a face mask while distributing communion. Holy Water has been returned to the fonts at the entrances. Please feel free to use or not use it at your personal discretion. The Mass Booklets and over literature has been returned to the holders on the back of the pews and the restriction of every other row is lifted. We realize that some of you may still have personal issues or concerns and we respect them. Your decisions on how and when to participate in worship are yours and yours alone to make. That said, we hope to see most of you back in the pews soon as we join together to sing praise, honor and glory to the Lord, our God.
In these uncertain and troubling times, the leadership of the Polish National Catholic Church, both secular and spiritual, has decided to implement a better safe than sorry approach to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Effective immediately, until further notice, all activities in our parish will be temporarily suspended. This includes all meetings and assemblies of any type. Mass will be celebrated by the clergy at 9:30 AM on Sundays in order to offer prayers for the faithful but all parishioners are instructed to to remain at home and to pray together from there as the one body of Christ. Should anyone come to Mass because they did not receive this notification, they will be asked to maintain the recommended social distancing of at least six feet from other parishioners. The Eucharist will not be distributed to the congregation but will be replaced by the recitation of the “Act of Spiritual Communion” at the appropriate time during the Mass. The text will be provide in the Bulletin and in the weekly Worship Guide for those not attending Mass. This will be posted on the website each week along with or in place of the bulletin until such time as we are once again able to gather together to give praise, honor and glory to the Lord God Almighty. The links below will provide you with the latest Official Statement from the Office of the Prime Bishop, a list of cancelled and re-scheduled events within the church, guides to Sunday and Lenten Worship Services. The Sunday Worship Guide will be updated weekly. Please share this information with any and all parishioners that you are in contact with to make sure that they know to stay home from church until further notice. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call me anytime at 610-775-4559. This number also rings my cell phone so i am available most anytime. With God’s grace we will weather this storm and come through stronger than ever. Please keep all of those affected by this sickness in your thoughts and prayers daily, especially the health care providers working so hard and so selflessly to battle this outbreak. Take care, stay well and may God bless you and yours in this time of crisis.
HEALTH PRECAUTIONS AT CHURCH
At this time, the ‘better-safe-than-sorry’ approach to our common life in our Parish is the approach to take for the immediate future. Therefore, at the passing of the Peace during Mass, we will eliminate handshaking, kissing and hugging as signs of God’s peace being with you. Instead, a wave, a peace sign ‘V’, a smile can be substituted for the other gestures to ensure the health safety of all and to remove from some the stigma of their not desiring to participate in the Peace at this time while others would.
Greeting the clergy with a handshake at the doors after Mass will no longer take place. A smile and the brief greetings offered as usual will be sufficient.
Coughing and sneezing into your elbow and arm instead of uncovered into the air around you will be appreciated by everyone and reduce the risk of infection.
As always, parishioners who are ill on a Sunday morning or exhibiting flu-like symptoms should remain at home from Mass until they are fully recovered from their illness.
The clergy will continue to wash their hands before Mass as they always do. Additionally, they will use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after distributing communion.
The CDC explains the following: Coronavirus symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms could appear two to 14 days after exposure. The virus spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People can also become infected by touching something with the virus on it then touching their mouth, nose or possibly eyes.
We will observe these precautions as long as necessary.
We will be holding our annual “Oplatek Dinner” after Mass on Sunday, January 12th at 12:00 Noon.
There will be only one Mass this day at 11:00 AM.
Tickets may still be available. Call for info.
ADULTS – $12.00
CHILDREN (under 12) – $6.00
I hope to see everyone there.
On Sunday, October 27th, there will be only one Mass at 9AM. We once again have the honor of hosting a visit by the Rt. Rev. Bernard Nowicki, the Bishop Ordinary of the Central Diocese of the Polish National Catholic Church. Bishop Nowicki will be here to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on two of the youth of our Parish, Kaitlyn Kotula and Brianna Zelek. Please pray for these two young people that they may feel welcomed into full and complete communion with the Church and the Parish community. Mark your calendars now – SAVE THE DATE. Please plan to join together as the one body of Christ for this joyous event!
The 34th Convention and 26th Workshop of the National United Choirs will be held at Holy Mother of the Rosary Cathedral in Lancaster, NY from July 31st through August 2nd. More information is available here.
Welcome Father Donald Wunderlich, wife Beverly, and daughter Danielle to our St. Stephen’s Parish community! Meet them on Sunday June 30 during a pancake breakfast in the Parish Hall following the 9:30AM mass.