COVID-19 response
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COVID-19 and Parish Life

For the most up to date information, return to this page  https://saintcofa.com/covid-19

Diocese of Phoenix 
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COVID-19 Trackers

  1.  City of Surprise Alert Center
  2.  City of El Mirage Alert Center
  3.  Maricopa County AZ, Coronavirus - English
  4.  Maricopa County AZ, Enfermedad Coronavirus - Español
  5.  Maricopa County Emergency Management
  6.  Governor of Arizona
  7.  AZUnido   AZTogether
  8.  Arizona's COVID-19 Actions to Date
  9.  Arizona Dept of Health Services
  10.  https://www.azdhs.gov/
  11.  worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/arizona/
  12.  covidtracking.com/data/state/arizona
  13.  rt.live/us/AZ
  14.  facebook.com/martyfreetage
  15.  Coronavirus.gov
  16.  Centers for Disease Control
  17.  coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/tracker/overview
  18.  Johns Hopkins Univ. & Medicine
  19.  Coronavirus Map 

Disclaimer: The presence of the links on this site are not an endorsement of their content. They are for your information and evaluation only to help you decide if you can safely come to church. If you find any of these links useful and accurate, great. If not, ignore them or let us know so we can consider taking down links that are not helpful.


 

Guide for Returning to Church

Dispensation
The faithful remain dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass
Keep Holy The Day of the Lord.  Give God your best. You ought to attend virtual Mass live-streamed, if possible or, if that is not possible, then please do your best to attend a recorded video Mass. 

Stay at Home
If you are considered a vulnerable person due to your health conditions or age, please stay at home and protect yourself and your family. If you exhibit any symptoms of Covid-19, please stay at home and take care of your health. Let us know if you need any help.

Accept Personal Responsibility
Be responsible for your own safe choices. We will mitigate the risks best by working together. We encourage you to bring hand sanitizer with you. It is not, and never will be, a sterile environment.
Stay Healthy - Stay-at-Home if you are vulnerable. This might be due to age or other conditions.

Physical Distancing
Please maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet from people who do not live with you. Please do not just sit in the end seats. Many people want to attend Mass. Move toward the centers of rows and do not expect people to have to squeeze past you to get a seat.

Masks
"The wearing of masks is strongly encouraged," by our diocese and Bishop Olmsted and by the Arizona governor. We will not force people to wear masks, but please use good judgment. Masks do not guarantee safety, but they might lower the risks for you and for others. Please be sensitive to the concerns and needs of those around you who have legitimate fears of getting sick. We don't know when we might suddently sneeze or cough so be prepared. Wear masks at all times during Mass or if you come to church after Mass. Only remove it after you receive Communion so that you can put the Sacred Host in your mouth or to receive the Host on your tongue. We are trying to be respectful and safe.

Be Patient and Kind
Every parish may do things a little differently. We are not experts and much remains uncertain. Even experts disagree on the right approach to safety. Be prudent. Be reasonable. Be nice to each other.  
This is a work in progress. We do not know how the people will respond. We must remain flexible and adapt to the changing realities. Please be patient with us.

Limited Seating
For safety reasons, we are limiting attendance inside the church to 35% seating (about 500 people). Families may seat together; others should keep 6 feet distance. We have roped off rows to keep every other row empty. Please take responsibility for your and our safety.

Live Stream Mass, then Communion
Bishop Thomas Olmsted wants people to either be physically present at Mass or virtually present by praying with the live-stream Mass, before going to the church to receive Communion after Mass in the narthex or curbside. 

Recordings of Masses
We post our recorded Masses on our Facebook page and on our YouTube page and on our website. Follow us on Facebook and Subscribe to our YouTube page to make it easier for you to find when you need these. To start, go to our website home page with the information for that day.
https://www.saintcofa.com/

Rest Rooms - These will be open and the entrance doors are propped open so you will not have to pull handles or push to leave. We will clean and santize them more frequently.

Drinking Fountain - blocked. Bring your own water if necessary.

Holy Water - We removed water at the door. Bring your own personal bottle. You can refill it from the tank up front near the shrine of the Blessed Mother. Continue to make the sign of the cross when you enter church without holy water unless you bring your own bottle.

Arrival and Departure  

We are trying to maintain order and will have one-way pathways for entrance and exiting the church and pathways for the Communion processions.

Doors open One Hour Before Mass begins

  • Wear your mask at all times.
  • Enter church through the front doors. Walk on the left side of the path. It will be marked clearly.
  • Maintain distances between people as you walk in or out of church. 
  • Our staff will be counting attendees as people enter the church.
  • Our staff have marked the pews where you can sit and have cordoned off pews where you may not sit.
  • Roughly speaking, there is one row, then one blocked row, then another open row of seating.
  • You may be sharing a pew with another household, but social distance is required between the households (6ft).  Do not just sit at ends of rows. Make room for others.

Departure - Please follow signs, arrows and ushers.

  • People will be dismissed one section at a time if it appears necessary to do so. By now, most people should be aware of how to walk slowly and keep distances as they depart. The priest will conclude Mass, then may indicate that section one can depart, followed by section two and so forth. Maintain your social distances and leave in an orderly fashion. 
  • Those closest to the doors should leave first, thus clearing the way for others to leave.
  • You must exit your pew when prompted so that others can get out, but you can then find a seat for to continue your private prayer until we have to lock up or reset for the next Mass.
  • Please leave by way of the side doors or by way of the main entrance but walk on the left side of the main tree covered walkway (palo verde walkway).
  • Do not congregate in groups outside, blocking pathways. There will be other people arriving for Communion following the live-stream Masses.

COMMUNION PROCEDURES

  • Aisles:  There will be two lines of people in the center aisle only. The transept aisles (choir side and confessional side are narrower. Please only form one row of communicants in the transept aisles.
  • Communion Under One Form - We will not offer the chalice to the congregation. You are not being deprived of the fullness of Holy Communion. We have always believed and taught that we receive Christ's body, blood, soul and divinity wether under One Species or Both Species.
  • Use of personal hand sanitizer before Communion is strongly encouraged.
  • Masks should be worn at all times, including in the communion line. Remove it briefly only for Communion. 
  • After the priest or other minister offers you Communion on the hand, please step to the side, remove your mask, consume the Eucharist, and then re-mask as you head back to your pew.

On the Hand

  • We strongly encourage you to choose to receive Communion in your hands as this is the safest way to receive at this time.
  • Please do not grasp the host. Hold your hands still, one hand under the other. Allow the person who is giving you Communion to gently place it on your hand. 

On the Tongue

  • We will offer Communion on the tongue at only one spot in the church at a kneeler and sanitizer table near the ambo/pulpit side. Please sit on that side so you can avoid crisscrossing through other communion lines. 
  • Please consider receiving on your hand due to the seriousness of the health risks.
  • But if you are very uncomfortable doing so, then stand in the one line up front for Communion on the tongue. The Minister of Holy Communion will gently place the Sacred Host on your tongue, please hold your hands below to catch it if it falls. The minister will use hand sanitizer whenever there is a chance that physical contact has been made with saliva.

Communion After Mass

  • Narthex/Lobby: If you have watched the live-stream Mass and then drive to church to receive Holy Communion, enter by way of the front walkway. Feel free to stay a bit and pray inside church to give thanks to God.
  • Curbside: If you are handicapped, use the side parking spots nearest the church, even if you do not have a handicapped plate. A minister of Holy Communion will bring Communion to you in your vehicle.

Parish Updates
will be posted to our parish website including the most recent Flocknote messages when we send text or email messages to our subscribers.
Please go to the home page to begin your search for information and links.
https://www.saintcofa.com/


USCCB  Catholic Current COVID-19  Resources


PHOTO BELOW: Communion Stations in the Narthex for those who arrive after live-stream Mass

 
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