14 May 2020 Parish Update

Posted on May 14, 2020

These days of social distancing have probably brought out some strange or new characteristics in all of us.  I started picking tulips.  I’ve never done that before.  One day as I was walking around the grounds I noticed that some of Sister Laverne’s tulips had bloomed.  “Well,” I thought to myself, “I’m going to pick them and put them in my house.”  And, I did.  And as the days have rolled on I’ve picked a few more. 

Flowers were never a big part of my childhood in Hatley.  Mom did have a huge, relatively speaking, flower garden at the front end of the vegetable garden, probably about 20% of the total space. I remember that she used to plant Alyssums  across the front, had a big plant of Bleeding Hearts and Petunias and Phlox.  I’m sure there were others.  Oh yes, she also had Peonies.  I remember asking her once when the Peonies were in full bloom why she never brought any of the flowers into the house.  I only guessed that other people had flowers in their houses from seeing it on TV.  “Oh” she said, “I wouldn’t want to bring all that dirt and dust into the house.”  My mother had a thing about dust.  There never were flowers in our house and in later years when my brother would give her flowers she’d be polite and leave them at the center of the kitchen table until he left and then the flowers would be put out in the entrance way in a corner.

This week I received “guidance” from the Diocese on what Mass will look like once we can open up.  All the bishops of the State of Wisconsin have gotten together and the guidelines are in place across all five dioceses.  No one is going to be very happy with this “guidance.” 

One of the biggest issues is that people 60 and over are to be encouraged not to attend–at least until there is a vaccine.  In many parishes that’s at least half the congregation.  And those people who do come are not to visit with each other or ushers.  They are to go straight to a pew (every other pew is to be roped off) and can only sit with members of their own family.  Communion is in the hand, no holy water in the fonts and the collection is to be left in a basket at the entrance to the church.  No choirs, a cantor and accompanist is allowed. And everyone should wear a mask.  No double communion lines (that would mean you’d come down the side aisle at St. Joes and then separate going back to your pew down the middle aisle).  Oh and here is the really odd “guidance.”  After Mass everyone is to leave immediately, taking the worship aid/bulletin with them, go home, take off their clothes and wash them.  There you have it.  I just can’t see it.  I’m sure we’re weeks if not months away from that but who knows?  These are surreal times and most of us have never lived through anything like this before.

As always I’ll look for you at Mass.  I may not see you but from the comments we’ve gotten, I know you’re watching.  Take care.  GRS