CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY

COVID-19 Update

You are invited to see Bishop Robert McElroy's video on reopening the church found here.

Dear Parishioners,

As you have heard, churches in San Diego will be open soon. Our weekend Masses will begin on the feast of Corpus Christi, June 13-14th, 2020 and Daily Masses will begin June 8, 2020. For the safety of our older parishioners and/or those who have preexisting medical conditions, the Bishop’s office advises them to remain home, and that communion can be brought to them by a family member. If you do not have a pyx, please purchase one for those who need communion to be brought home. The parish has a limited supply which can be purchased for $10, but if you cannot afford one, we will provide it. A recording of the Sunday Mass will be available on our website. As of now, Sunday Mass obligation is still dispensed until further notice. Daily Mass resumes at 8 am on Monday, June 8th, in the Church, but will no longer be recorded. Our Sunday Mass times will change slightly to allow time for cleaning between Masses.

The new schedule will be as follows:
Saturday 5:00pm (remains the same)
Sunday    7:30 am (remains the same)
                9:30 am new time
                11:30 am new time

When arriving at Mass, please follow our Hospitality Ministers’ instructions regarding the use of the Nanotech sanitizer for everyone’s protection. You will need only one pump which will last 24 hours. Please do not use more than one, as they are expensive. The ushers will help seat you. Please help us make this a smooth transition as we enter the initial phase of reopening, and please be patient while we all learn new things to keep everyone safe. Remember to bring your face mask to Church. If you do not have a mask with you, one will be provided. Children 2 and older should have masks. While in Church, if you have difficulty breathing please pull your mask down enough to allow you to breathe through your nose.

Again, do not feel guilty if you are unable to come to Mass, I invite you to join and offer up your sufferings in prayer to Christ for the redemption of the world, and I look forward to seeing all of you again.

Thank you so much. Stay safe in Jesus Christ,

Fr. Minh

On May 28th, the Bishop wrote:

Additional General instructions: 5/28/2020
 GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS AND PROCEDURES: 
1. After consulting the pastors in the El Centro Deanery, Bishop McElroy has decided to delay the start of Masses in that portion of the Diocese of San Diego to the weekend of June 27 & 28 due to a sudden and recent rise in confirmed coronavirus infections. (Does not affect Nativity)
 
2. The diocese has prepared a general video of approximately six minutes in both English and Spanish to help our parishioners have an understanding about what they can expect to see and experience as they return to Mass in our parishes. These videos include a brief introduction from Bishop McElroy and are available on the diocesan website as well as here. 

3. People in vulnerable populations should be encouraged to stay home.
 
4. High-risk individuals (e.g., people who are 65 and older, who are immuno-compromised or who have underlying health conditions) should be discouraged from serving in any capacity that brings them into contact with others.
 
5. Frequently touched objects such as statues, tabernacles, etc., should be cordoned off to minimize potential points of contact. Likewise, shared tapers for votive candle racks should not be used.
 
6. For the time being, church gatherings – both inside and outside – are limited to 100 persons.
 
a. In the case of overflow gatherings, where people are gathered to hear or view the Mass taking place in the church, communion ministers should bring communion to the people in the overflow space rather than directing the people to come from the overflow space to inside the church for communion.
 
b. Governor Newsom’s office has left the question of holding outside church services for groups larger than 100 persons to the individual counties in the state of California to decide. We have asked for clarification from the County of San Diego and are awaiting a response. 
 
7. No liturgy should have more than two musicians: a cantor and an accompanist. Because the people should not be encouraged to sing for the time being, cantors should not be inviting the congregation to do so either by gestures or verbal invitation.
 
8. At this time, communion to the sick for the homebound is limited to someone from the same household attending Mass and bringing communion to the sick person by way of a pyx. Pastors should ensure that those bringing communion to a sick member of the household are prepared in the most basic way to do so.
 
9. The sharing of albs, robes or cassocks for altar servers, musicians, and other such liturgical ministers is to be avoided. Rather, such persons should minister in appropriate civilian attire for the time being. Likewise, clergy should use their own personal alb underneath outer vestments. Insofar as possible, the sharing of outer vestments such as stoles and chasubles should be limited.

 

Church of the Nativity Responses to the
Diocese of San Diego Guidelines for “Church Reopening Plan.”

The following are protocol responses to Diocesan requirements in Three Principle Foundations (Hygiene, Social Distancing, and Planning) May 22, 2020:

I. HYGIENE

Facemasks will be required for all, age two and above. Will people be asked to supply their own? If so, will the parish have a supply of facemasks to provide to those who arrive without one.
Facemasks will be required for all, ages two and above. Everyone is required to supply their own mask, however, if they do not, one will be provided for them.

Provide hand sanitizer "stations" at every entrance door to the church, on the credence table for the priest and ministers use, in the restrooms, and in various sacristies.
Sanitizer stations utilizing Nano-Tech protection good for 24 hours, will be available at all entrances of the church, in bathrooms, in the halls (Commons), sacristy, and near the sanctuary. Tabletop versions will be in placed temporarily until free-standing stations can be installed.

Has the church been thoroughly cleaned before the first use? How will the church be cleaned and sanitized at least once every 24 hours? What level of cleaning can be attained between Masses?
The church will be cleaned before first use with Nano-Tech protection for all surfaces. Electrostatic foggers will be used. Bathrooms and common surfaces will be wiped down between Masses.

Is the ventilation system of the church and any other facility that will be used for Mass working properly? Has it been professionally maintained and recently inspected? Weather permitting, can windows and/or doors to the church or other secondary facility be opened to provide fresh air during and between liturgies?
Our HVAC is regularly maintained and in working order. All entrance doors to the Church and the Commons will be open throughout Mass for fresh airflow. In addition, there will be additional; signs for ushers and or hospitality ministers to remind visitors to use Nanotech hand sanitizer before entering the church and the Commons.

Have all fonts and holy water stoops been emptied?
The Holy water font has been emptied and will not be in used until further notice.

Have pews been cleared of Missalettes, hymnals, other worship aids, offertory envelopes, etc.?
All materials have been removed from the pews.

II. SOCIAL DISTANCING

Determine how many people your church can hold. Plan on using every other pew and allowing for six feet between people of different households in the same pew.
Social distancing can be maintained using 191 seats in the church. Our Mass counts used for data average 974 each weekend. Additional Masses will be added as needed. Every other pew will be marked as closed. Families may sit together, and pews will be marked with 6’ social distancing labels non-family member seating.  Ushers will seat each party as appropriate throughout the worship space. 

Will any other facilities on campus be used in place of or in addition to the church? If so, how many people can these places hold, providing for appropriate social distancing? Keep in mind that rows of chairs must be 6-feet apart and, within each row, a distance of 6-feet must be maintained between household units.
We have additional seating for 67 in the Commons. If needed, we will provide canopy seating for an additional 30 more seats in the courtyard (weather permitting). Every section will be laid out with 6 ft social distancing.  Ushers will seat each party as appropriate throughout the worship space. 

Will any liturgies be held outside instead of in the church as a way to accommodate more people? If so, have you planned for an adequate sound system, portable restrooms and hand washing stations, hand sanitizer, and the remote possibility of inclement weather?
No liturgy will be held outside the church. The church’s courtyard is equipped with speakers.  Those who are not comfortable going inside can listen to the Mass there under a covered canopy and enter to receive Communion outside.

Will an actual liturgy take place in an overflow or secondary facility, or will the liturgy taking place in the church simply be live streamed there for the people to see? If applicable, how will people who experience the liturgy via live stream receive Holy Communion? Is your technology working to provide a live stream video feed into a secondary facility?
T
he overflow hall (the Parish Commons) will have a large television with Mass live streamed.  Communion will be provided on a limited basis for those who cannot attend Mass, for family members to bring pyx for their family members at home only. If you do not have a pyx, one may be purchased at the Church office for $10; one will be provided for those who cannot afford to buy one. 

Have markings been placed on the floor to help people maintain a 6-foot distance from one another as they approach the priest or Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist for Holy Communion?
Floors have been marked with 6 feet distancing and arrows to show flow of communion lines.

Has the "cry room" or similar space been closed and locked?
No cry room at church.

Have all gatherings before and after Mass ( e.g., formation sessions, Liturgy of the Word for Children, coffee and donuts, etc.) been cancelled?
All have been cancelled until further notice.

III. PLANNING

To promote healthy, prayerful and welcoming liturgical celebrations, it will be helpful for your parishioners to know what to expect well before they arrive on campus for Mass for the first time upon reopening. How will any special modifications to the liturgy be communicated to parishioners in advance? Email? Website? Social media? Parish bulletin? A bulk mailing via US Mail? Or?
All communication of changes will be as follows:  Parish Website https://nativitycatholic.weconnect.com under Pastor’s Corner in COVID-19 update, also available on WeConnect Parish Apps for IOS and Android platform, parish weekly email, bulletin (electronic .pdf format), with short instruction videos as the need arises.

What will be your schedule of Masses for the week? Will any Masses be added or deleted from your regular schedule?
Daily Mass schedule will remain the same Monday to Saturday 8 am
Temporary Saturday Vigil and Sunday Mass as follows:
Saturday 5 pm
Sunday   7:30 am; 9:30 am; 11:30 am
(these new times allow for c
leaning between Masses)

How do you plan to accommodate parishioners at your Masses? Will people be seated on a first come, first serve basis? Or will there be a reservation or ticket system in place that accommodates both registered and non-registered parishioners, as well as those who are technology savvy and those not so technologically savvy?
A
s of now seating will be on a first come, first serve basis. Since Sunday 9:30 and 11:30 Masses are usually the largest, please utilize other Mass times to help even out attendance for all Masses. A reservation system may be implemented as the need arises.

What types of special signage will be needed? Take the time now to design and produce these signs in advance.
Signage will be in front of the 4 entrances to the Church

Have secure boxes near the entrances of the Church been established to receive parishioners' contributions? Be sure parishioners are aware of online giving options.
As parishioners depart from the church ushers wearing gloves holding baskets will collect offerings which will be placed in secure lock boxes afterwards. Parishioners can also simply drop their envelopes through the slot of secure box. No baskets will be passed during Mass. All are encouraged to give online using Faith Direct.

Has adequate social distancing space been provided for lectors, servers, ushers, Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, a cantor, and an accompanist?
Yes, there will be adequate social distancing observed by all liturgical ministers

Ushers (Ministers of Hospitality) will be needed at both weekday and weekend Masses? If so, how will they be recruited, trained and scheduled?
The Hospitality Ministry and Usher ministry will recruit, train and schedule ushers.  Ushers will be 65 or younger and low risk (no preexisting medical conditions).

On weekends, will any parts of the Mass be shortened or eliminated to allow for a less lengthy liturgy?
Mass will be shortened by reciting the Gloria, no choir, and other appropriate Mass parts.

The procession of the gifts of bread and wine is suspended for all Masses.
No procession of bread and wine.

Holding of hands for the Lord's Prayer is prohibited and the exchange of the Sign of Peace is suspended at all Masses.
T
here will be no holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer and being that the sign of peace is optional according to GIRM 154, it will be suspended until further notice. That being said, there will be no exchange of the Sign of Peace.

Holy Communion will be distributed under the form of consecrated bread alone and only in the hand. It should be distributed in a manner to avoid any skin-to-skin touching.
Only the Body of Christ will be distributed during communion. Please receive communion by hand.

Develop a plan for the distribution of Holy Communion (either at the usual time or once Mass has ended) that allows for social distancing. How and when will you instruct people to receive communion and navigate the reality of a facemask?
Communion will given at usual time with social distancing in mind. Ushers will give instructions and directions.

Will an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist or two be needed to distribute Holy Communion in place of the priest or with the priest in a different section of the church or secondary facility?
Extraordinary Ministers (EM) of the Eucharist will distribute Holy Communion with the priest using the 6 ft minimum distancing.

The practice of sending Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist to visit the sick remains suspended due to health risks associated with such visits. Consider allowing spouses and immediate family members to use a pyx to take Holy Communion to those staying in their home.
All Eucharistic Ministers for the homebound are suspended until further notice. Only family members of the same household may bring communion to their family at home.

Where will parish bulletins be placed for the people to take as they leave the church or other facility?
Bulletins may be handed out by ushers and/or Hospitality Ministers wearing gloves.

 Fr. Minh Do, Pastor

Mr. Paul Batchelor, Facility Manager

Letter from Bishop McElroy to Pastors May 15th

Letter from Bishop McElroy to Pastors May 22nd