Since March, we have been tested as a community in every aspect of our lives. We reached out to several churches in the Oconomowoc area; these are four that responded to tell their story.
Thank you to:
Fr. Tom Brundage – St. Jerome Catholic Parish
Pr. Lance O’Donnell -St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School
Rev. Scott Seefeldt – Zion Episcopal Church
Pr. Jason Ewart – Hope Lake Country
for giving us your time.
Governor Evers’ Mask Mandate
While Governor Evers’ mask order is in place parishioners must wear masks at church. Beginning this weekend, please plan accordingly to bring masks for you and your family to wear. If you forget or do not have a mask, come anyway as we will have some masks available. It is important that we come together to worship and pray as a parish family.
Designated Mask-Only Area for Weekend Masses
Dear St. Jerome Parishioners,
With the recent upgrade to our closed circuit system, we now have the capability to provide a televised viewing area for parishioners who wish to be in an area where masks are required to be worn.
Beginning this weekend, the Fireside Café will be used (temporarily) as the enclosed area where those who wish to worship in a mask-only environment may do so. This option will be available for all three weekend Masses. As there will be no coffee or donut service, this area should work very well.
We are committed to a safe and welcoming environment with the freedom to worship as our St. Jerome family members choose. This endeavor is a good faith effort to accommodate those who wish to worship in person, but would prefer to be in a mask-only area. Only the café is being designated as a mask-only area; parishioners who prefer not to wear a mask may continue to do so in all other areas.
As the virus situation evolves we will continually monitor our policies and update them as needed. As long as we continue to worship together as a family, we will emerge from this stronger – both collectively and individually.
St. Jerome “Return to Mass” – From Fr. Tom
Easter Season, 2020 Dear Friends in Christ:
I wish to communicate some items about our current situation as well as prepare our parish for the next stage in this COVID-19 virus situation.
First, a big thank you. Both as Catholics and Americans, we are a resilient people and will rise to any challenge that we face. The past ten weeks have been difficult for many, and our supreme task is to take care of and pray for those who are suffering with this virus, both the victims and their families.
With the best minds in the world looking for a vaccine to prevent the spread of this virus, as well as helping to save lives, I am optimistic that we will beat this virus sooner rather than later.
With that being said, there are the secondary victims, that is, all the businesses (for-profit and not-for-profit) that are closing and laying off or reducing their staff. The economic damage that we are facing—as a church, a nation, and virtually every land and people on the earth—will probably be staggering. We cannot presume that once the virus is eradicated that things will return to normal.
Again, I want to thank you for your continued support of St. Jerome’s. So far, we have not had to furlough any of our employees, either at our parish or our school. This could and may change as time goes on, but we are taking the best care we can of our dedicated staff. A special thank you to our teachers who have provided good and steady teaching to our youngsters.
Now, what happens next? Any of these circumstances could change as conditions change.
We are planning on restoring our public Masses the weekend of May 30/31, which is both ironically and providentially the great Feast of Pentecost. We have to have trust in Jesus’ word that he would send the Holy Spirit to look after and protect his people.
I have talked a lot about the common good in the last three months and, while some of these adjustments may seem stringent, we have an obligation to help prevent a second wave of this virus.
Here are some details:
- If you or any member of your family is sick, you are dispensed from coming to Mass. Our YouTube broadcast has worked well for the people who need to stay home. Follow the scripture readings and make a spiritual Communion from home;
- Baptisms, weddings, and funerals will still be available but will be subject to a limit on the number of people attending;
- For the time being, we are limited in the number of people we can have in our church at any given Mass. Our best estimate is that would be about 225 people.You will receive information early next week on how to register online for attendance at Sunday Masses. We are trying to make this as fair and simple as possible. We will certainly make adjustments for our elderly or those without access to the Internet;
- For the time being, we will need to keep every other pew closed to maintain the safe 6- foot distancing;
- The song books have been stored away as we are not to have any paper products in church. Let’s do what we can to sing hymns that are familiar;
- There will not be a Sign of Peace or Presentation of Gifts for the foreseeable future;
- Regarding the reception of Communion, only a priest or deacon can administer this. The Archbishop has directed that Communion is to be received in the hand and the common chalice will not be available until a later date;
- Communion to the sick and homebound will be suspended until it is safe to resume;
- We will have to limit social gatherings, so our Sunday morning café will not reopen until it is safe.I am sorry that we have to make these changes; hopefully, most will be temporary. As time proceeds, you will discover that similar rules regarding gatherings are happening in many places.As a people of faith, we know that God is protecting and sustaining us. We will get through this and we will be a stronger community.Sincerely in Christ,Fr. Thomas T. Brundage Pastor