Updated Guidelines for Masses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Mass Schedule: Weekend Masses – Saturdays, 6pm (English); Sundays, 9:30am (English), 12:15pm (Spanish); Weekday Masses – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at noon; Wednesday, Eucharistic Adoration/Benediction at 5pm, Mass at 6pm.

A letter from Most Rev. Stephen D. Parkes, Bishop of Savannah, to the faithful of the Diocese of Savannah.


November 20, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,


As this difficult year winds to a close and even our celebrations of the upcoming holidays stand to be transformed by the pandemic, we must hold fast to the great gift of hope, already given to us by God at our Baptism. Hope keeps us from discouragement, sustains us in hardship, and reminds us that we were created for eternity and life with Christ. While everything around us seems altered and unfamiliar, our faith and our relationship with the Church does not have to change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever(Hebrews 13:8) and we can look to the Sacred Scriptures for continued comfort and for inspiration to sustain and grow in our relationship with Him.
When Jesus saw Zacchaeus perched in a sycamore tree (Luke 19:1-10), He called out: Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house. Saint Luke records that the man came down from the tree and Jesus received him with joy. Zacchaeus was watching Jesus from a distance and after Jesus’ greeting and invitation they dined together with graciousness and hope. Zacchaeus’ life was changed forever because of His relationship with Christ.
When public worship was suspended in March, our congregations became in some ways like Zacchaeus, watching the liturgical life of the Church from a distance through technology. Even after reopening, we missed (and still do) our brothers and sisters we are used to seeing in the pews around us, we miss the smiles obscured by a mask, we miss the laughter over coffee and doughnuts in the Narthex. There is a physical separation, like Zacchaeus in the tree.
But no matter how far we may feel from one another or how we mourn for the loss of contact, Jesus has never ceased to call us closer, especially back to the communal and sacramental life and relationship with the Church.
A basic understanding of our Catholic faith is that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1324). Through our entrance into the Paschal Mystery, we encounter the living and risen Christ. As Christians, we honor a special day of the week, Sunday, which is to be set apart as sacred and holy. On the Sabbath Day –the Lord’s Day – we are called to gather together as a community to hear the Word of God and partake of the sacred meal, the Eucharist, so that our faith can be strengthened and sustained. May we strive to draw ever closer to Him, especially in difficult and challenging times.
Even as we care for our physical and emotional well-being, we must also recognize that our spiritual lives need to be nurtured and tended. Christ is calling out to us, as He did to Zacchaeus, and inviting us to dine with Him. With sensitivity and understanding for our individual and family circumstances, as your Bishop I ask you to reflect on your response to His invitation. If you have not yet returned to the public celebration of Mass, please spend some time in prayer and listen for the voice of Christ who is inviting you to be present for the Eucharistic feast. In the quiet of your heart, mind and soul, consider His invitation to return to the Eucharist – to an encounter with the One who is joy, grace, hope and peace.
Since I was installed as your Bishop two months ago, I have visited many parishes and schools, and conducted Days of Reflection with our dedicated Priests who serve in the 90counties of our Diocese. During these visits we have discussed the challenges and hopes that have surfaced during this time of pandemic. I am pleased to report that many people are attending Mass and there have been no outbreaks of the Coronavirus linked to our reopening of churches. This is good news which tells me that our precautions and safety protocols are effective. We also join together in prayer asking for wisdom and patience while vaccines and treatments are developed and perfected to assist us in this crisis. My friends, thank you for your witness of faith and for your dedication to our Church. I ask you to please review the attached information regarding the Dispensation from the Sunday Mass Obligation, as well as updated guidelines and recommendations for our parishes. Let us go forward in faith, hope and wonder, as Zacchaeus did, always ready to welcome Our Lord.
Please know that I pray for you, your loved ones and your intentions. I ask you to pray for me as I begin my Episcopal ministry here in the Diocese of Savannah. Although we may not see one another each day, we can meet each day in our prayers. May we Rejoice in the Lord always!


In Christ,


Most Rev. Stephen D. Parkes, D.D.

Bishop of Savannah


UPDATE REGARDING COVID-19
DISPENSATION FROM SUNDAY MASS ATTENDANCE


Though technology has assisted us in maintaining a sense of community in our parishes, it does not replace the ability to gather for the celebration of the Eucharist. We have been created by God for community, and many have suffered tremendously from isolation and loneliness during these months. Technology is an effective tool for evangelization, but we must not grow complacent when it comes to our physical presence at the Eucharistic celebration.
As society reopens, mindful of social distancing and other precautions, I make an appeal to you: that you perform an examination of conscience in regards to your everyday activities and consider Mass attendance in that context. If you and your household are frequenting restaurants, your children are attending school, family members are involved in sports, and individuals are attending social gatherings, I believe that Sunday Mass attendance should also resume. Sunday Mass may only be missed with good reason related to personal and communal health as the pandemic continues.
A dispensation from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass was granted for the faithful of the Diocese of Savannah in March, and was most recently extended until November 22, 2020.
Beginning with the First Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2020, the dispensation from Sunday Mass attendance is granted only for the following

  •  those who belong to vulnerable populations due to age or health
  • caregivers and those who live with those in vulnerable populations
  • those who are sick or have symptoms
  • those who suffer from extreme uneasiness or anxiety from being in any public
  • places in this time of pandemic

While we must not forget that we are still living in a time of pandemic, as a Church we are to be guided with a desire to move forward with hope, confident in God’s help. We are called to promote a culture of hope, not a culture of fear.
In order to move forward with utmost care and confidence, I present the following guidelines for the parishes of the Diocese of Savannah. I also identify decisions left to each Pastor’s discretion in recognition of the great diversity that exists in our diocese, and finally, a list of best practices. I hope we can move forward in a uniform manner throughout our diocese so that all will fi nd in our parishes a welcoming and safe environment that encourages a sacred and reverential atmosphere.


GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR ALL PARISHES

  • State and local guidelines and ordinances must be followed.
  • Parishes must place in a visible and somewhat prominent location near the entrance to buildings the following text: Under Georgia law, there is no liability for an injury or death of an individual entering these premises if such injury or death results from the inherent risks of contracting COVID-19. You are assuming this risk by entering these premises. (Please note that in accordance with the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act, the text must be printed in at least one-inch Arial font and placed apart from other text.)
  • Worship spaces and schools must be properly cleaned and sanitized, with particular attention given to bathrooms and surfaces that are touched most often, like doorknobs and doors. Parishes may utilize disinfectant smoke machines and be attentive to wiping down surfaces.
  • Hand sanitizer must be readily available at the entrance of every building, near the areas where communion is distributed, and near the altar.
  • The use of masks has been shown to significantly decrease the rate of contagion of COVID-19. Wearing a mask is highly encouraged at all times when the faithful are inside our buildings.
  • Worship spaces may be filled to their maximum capacity according to social distancing norms. Ushers must assist the sitting of the faithful to maximize space and to ensure proper social distancing. Families/households who wish to sit together may do so.
  • Music and singing should be provided for the Sunday liturgy in all parishes, including Mass parts.
  • Hymnals are not to be placed in the pews. One-time use liturgical aides may be used, or hymnals may be made available for purchase.
  • Altar servers may assist at the altar during Mass, as long as parents agree and the servers wear masks. Parishes may start by assigning a maximum of three altar servers (a cross bearer and two candle bearers) to perform limited functions.
  • Lectors, ushers, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion may resume their ministerial responsibilities as needed.
  • The Sign of Peace may now be extended to the faithful without physical contact. This may be done by saying: Let us offer one another a simple acknowledgment of peace or by explaining to the faithful beforehand that the Sign of Peace will be exchanged without physical contact. Families/households may still exchange the Sign of Peace as before. The rubrics of the Roman Missal should be followed.
  • The distribution of the Precious Blood to the faithful remains suspended.
  • In order to maintain the integrity of the liturgy, the distribution of Communion must occur at the indicated time and not after the final blessing.
  • Holy Communion cannot be denied to the faithful who wish to receive it on the tongue. Please remind the faithful how to properly receive communion in the hand and on the tongue in order to avoid physical contact.
  • Faith Formation for Children and Adults must continue using ingenuity and creativity. Even if the number of faithful involved in faith formation is decreased, every parish must continue to provide opportunities for learning and especially for the preparation of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.
  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation must be celebrated in a room with ample space that allows for social distancing and air circulation. ‘Drive-By’ confessions are not permitted.

Issued: November 20, 2020

20 de noviembre de 2020


Queridos amigos en Cristo:


Estamos a punto de finalizar un año difícil. La pandemia ha afectado nuestro diario vivir y la forma en que celebraremos las próximas fiestas. En estos momentos debemos aferrarnos al gran don de la esperanza, que Dios nos dio desde nuestro Bautismo. La esperanza nos sostiene en las dificultades y nos recuerda que fuimos creados para la eternidad y la vida con Cristo. Aun cuando todo a nuestro alrededor pareciera haber cambiado, la fe y nuestra relación con la Iglesia no tienen que cambiar. Jesucristo es el mismo «ayer, hoy y siempre» (Hebreos 13, 8). Al leer las Sagradas Escrituras encontramos el consuelo necesario y la inspiración para que nuestra relación con Dios siga creciendo.


Cuando Jesús vio a Zaqueo arriba del árbol le dijo: «baja pronto, porque hoy tengo que alojarme en tu casa» (Lucas 19,1-10). Él bajó del árbol y Jesús lo recibió con alegría. Zaqueo observaba a Jesús desde la distancia. Después del saludo y la invitación de Jesús, ellos cenaron juntos amistosamente y llenos de esperanza. La vida de Zaqueo cambió para siempre
debido a su relación con Cristo. Cuando el culto público fue suspendido en marzo, la comunidad de fieles se volvió de alguna manera como Zaqueo, observando la vida litúrgica de la Iglesia desde la distancia a
través de la tecnología. Incluso después de reabrir las iglesias en mayo, seguimos extrañando a muchos de nuestros hermanos y hermanas que estábamos acostumbrados a ver en las bancas que nos rodean. Extrañamos las sonrisas —que ahora se ocultan bajo las mascarillas— y las risas durante el café y donas en el salón parroquial. Hay una separación física, como la de Zaqueo en el árbol.


Sin importar lo lejos que estemos los unos con los otros y la tristeza que sentimos de no estar juntos, Jesús nunca ha dejado de buscarnos, de llamarnos a vivir en comunidad con la Iglesia y de vivir los sacramentos.


Una enseñanza básica de nuestra fe católica es que la Eucaristía es «fuente y culmen de toda la vida cristiana» (Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica,1324). A través de nuestra entrada en el misterio pascual nos encontramos con Cristo vivo y resucitado. Como cristianos, honramos un día especial de la semana, el domingo, el cual debe ser apartado como sagrado y santo. En el día del Señor, estamos llamados a reunirnos como comunidad para
escuchar la Palabra de Dios y participar de la sagrada Eucaristía, a fin de que nuestra fe pueda fortalecerse y crecer. Esforcémonos por acercarnos cada vez más a Dios, especialmente en estos tiempos difíciles.


Así como cuidamos nuestro bienestar físico y emocional, también debemos de reconocer que necesitamos cuidar nuestra vida espiritual. Cristo nos llama, como lo hizo con Zaqueo, y nos invita a cenar con él. En ese sentido, yo reconozco que hay ciertas circunstancias que no han permitido a algunos individuos y familias a asistir personalmente a Misa. Pero como su obispo los invito a que dediquen un tiempo a la oración y escuchen
el llamado que Cristo les hace a estar presentes en la fi esta eucarística. En la tranquilidad de su corazón, mente y alma, consideren la invitación del Señor a volver a la Eucaristía, al encuentro con aquel que es alegría, gracia, esperanza y paz.


Durante estos dos meses que tengo de fungir como su obispo, he visitado muchas parroquias, escuelas y facilitado Días de Refl exión con los Sacerdotes que prestan servicio en los 90 condados de nuestra diócesis. Durante estas visitas y Días de Refl exión hemos discutido los desafíos y esperanzas que han surgido durante este tiempo de pandemia. Me complace informarles que muchas personas asisten a Misa, y que no se han reportado brotes de Coronavirus relacionados con la reapertura de las iglesias. Esta es una buena noticia que indica que nuestras precauciones y protocolos de seguridad son efi caces. Unámonos en oración pidiendo sabiduría y paciencia mientras se desarrollan y perfeccionan las vacunas y los tratamientos para combatir este virus.


Amigos míos, gracias por su testimonio de fe y dedicación a nuestra Iglesia.


Les pido que revisen el documento adjunto, el cual explica a quienes aplica o no la Dispensa de la Obligación de asistir a la Misa Dominical, así como las directrices y recomendaciones actualizadas para nuestras parroquias. Sigamos adelante con fe y esperanza; y como lo hizo Zaqueo: siempre dispuestos a recibir a Nuestro Señor.


Quiero que sepan que ustedes y sus seres queridos siempre están en mis oraciones. Les pido que recen por mí, especialmente ahora que inicio mi ministerio episcopal en ladiócesis de Savannah. Aunque no nos veamos todos los días, podemos reunirnos cada día en nuestras oraciones. ¡Alegrémonos siempre en el Señor!


En Cristo,


Reverendísimo Monseñor Stephen D. Parkes, D.D.
Obispo de Savannah


20 de noviembre de 2020


DIRECTRICES: COVID-19
DISPENSA DE LA OBLIGACIÓN DE ASISTIR A LA MISA DOMINICAL
Aunque la tecnología nos ha ayudado a mantener un sentido de comunidad
en nuestras parroquias, no se puede comparar con el hecho de reunirnos en
persona para celebrar la Eucaristía. Hemos sido creados por Dios para vivir en comunidad. Durante estos meses, muchos han sufrido tremendamente debido al aislamiento y la soledad. La tecnología es una herramienta efi caz para la evangelización, pero no debemos acostumbrarnos y creer que nuestra presencia física en la celebración eucarística no es necesaria.


A medida que el proceso de reapertura social continua en una nueva normalidad que incluye distanciamiento social y otras precauciones, yo los llamo a que hagan un examen de conciencia de las actividades cotidianas que realizan en el contexto actual y consideren asistir a Misa. Si ustedes y sus familias están frecuentando restaurantes, sus hijos asisten a la escuela, participan en actividades deportivas y reuniones sociales, creo que la asistencia a la Misa dominical también debe reanudarse. Tiene que existir una buena razón —relacionada con la salud personal y comunitaria— para no participar en la Misa dominical durante esta pandemia.


En marzo se les concedió a los eles de la diócesis de Savannah una dispensa
de la obligación de asistir a la Misa dominical la cual se prorrogó hasta el
22 de noviembre de 2020. A partir del primer domingo de Adviento, 29 de
noviembre de 2020, la dispensa de la obligación de asistir a la Misa dominical se concede únicamente en las siguientes circunstancias:
ƒ Personas que pertenecen a una categoría de riesgo debido a la edad o
estado de salud
ƒ Encargados del cuidado de la salud y aquellos que viven con personas en
una categoría de riesgo
ƒ Personas que están enfermas o tienen síntomas
ƒ Personas que, durante esta pandemia, se sienten altamente incomodas o
sufren de ansiedad al estar en lugares públicos


Aunque no debemos olvidar que todavía vivimos en una época de pandemia, como Iglesia debemos guiarnos por el deseo de seguir adelante; con esperanza y confi anza en Dios. Estamos llamados a promover una cultura de esperanza,no una cultura de miedo.


A fin de poder seguir adelante, y tomando en cuenta la importancia del
cuidado de la salud todos, les presento las siguientes directrices y una lista de mejores prácticas. Reconociendo la diversidad que existe en nuestra diócesis, en este documento también les doy a conocer las decisiones que quedan a discreción de cada párroco. Espero que podamos avanzar en este proceso de manera uniforme en toda nuestra diócesis para que todos encuentren en nuestras parroquias una atmósfera acogedora y segura que fomente un ambiente sagrado y reverencial.


DIRECTRICES
ƒ Se deben seguir las directrices y ordenanzas estatales y locales.
ƒ Las parroquias deben colocar en la entrada de los edificios, en un lugar
visible y prominente, el siguiente texto: Bajo la ley de Georgia, no existe
responsabilidad por una lesión o la muerte de una persona que entra a estas instalaciones, si tales lesiones o muerte son resultado de los riesgos inherentes de contraer COVID-19. Usted asume este riesgo al entrar en estas instalaciones. (Tome en cuenta que, de conformidad con la Ley de Seguridad de las Empresas de Georgia durante la pandemia de COVID-19, el texto debeimprimirse usando letra Arial y con un tamaño mínimo de una pulgada. Dicho anuncio debe colocarse independiente de otros anuncios).
ƒ Los lugares de culto y las escuelas deben limpiarse y desinfectarse adecuadamente, prestando especial atención a los baños y superficies que se tocan con mayor frecuencia, como las perillas de las puertas y las puertas. Las parroquias deben desinfestar constantemente las superficies y si lo desean pueden utilizar máquinas de humo desinfectante.
ƒ El desinfectante de manos debe estar accesible en la entrada de cada edificio, cerca de las zonas donde se distribuye la comunión y cerca del altar.
ƒ Se ha demostrado que el uso de mascarillas disminuye significativamente
la tasa de contagio de COVID-19. Motivemos el uso de mascarillas en todo
momento, especialmente cuando los fieles están dentro de nuestros edificios.
ƒ Los lugares de culto pueden llenarse a su máxima capacidad de acuerdo
con las normas de distanciamiento social. Los ujieres deben ayudar a ubicar
a los fieles en las bancas de manera que se maximice el espacio y se garantice el distanciamiento social adecuado. Las grupos familiares que deseen sentarse juntos pueden hacerlo.
ƒ En todas las parroquias, se debe proporcionar música y cantos para la
liturgia dominical, incluyendo todas las partes de la Misa.
ƒ Los misales y libros de canto no deben ser colocados en las bancas. Se
pueden utilizar folletos litúrgicos de un solo uso y/o se pueden tener a la
venta misales y libros de canto para que cada fiel adquiera su copia personal.
ƒ Los monaguillos pueden ayudar en el altar durante la Misa, siempre y
cuando los padres estén de acuerdo y usen mascarillas. Las parroquias
pueden comenzar asignando un máximo de tres monaguillos para realizar
funciones limitadas (uno para la cruz y dos para las velas).
ƒ Lectores, ujieres y Ministros Extraordinarios de la Santa Comunión pueden reanudar sus responsabilidades ministeriales según sea necesario.
ƒ El Saludo de Paz puede ser reinstaurado, pero sin contacto físico. Esto se
puede hacer diciendo: «Ofrezcamos los unos a los otros una señal de paz» o
explicando a los fieles de antemano que el Saludo de Paz será intercambiado sin contacto físico. Los grupos familiares pueden intercambiar el Saludo de Paz como se hacía en el pasado. Se deben seguir las rúbricas del Misal Romano.
ƒ La distribución de la Preciosísima Sangre a los fieles permanece suspendida.
ƒ Para mantener la integridad de la liturgia, la distribución de la Comunión
debe ocurrir en el tiempo indicado, y no después de la bendición final.
ƒ La Santa Comunión no puede ser negada a los fieles que desean recibirla en la lengua. Por favor, para evitar el contacto físico recordémosles a los fielescómo recibir adecuadamente la comunión en la mano y en la lengua.
ƒ Se deberá seguir utilizando el ingenio y la creatividad en los programas de
formación en la fe para niños y adultos. Aunque disminuya el número de
fieles que participan en los programas de formación en la fe, cada parroquia debe seguir brindando oportunidades de aprendizaje, especialmente para la preparación de los Sacramentos de Iniciación: Bautismo, Confirmación y Eucaristía.
ƒ El Sacramento de la Reconciliación debe celebrarse en un salón amplio que permita el distanciamiento social y la circulación de aire. No se permiten confesiones en el automóvil.

CHURCH REOPENING

We thank God for being able to reopen our church for Mass, starting this Monday, May 25, 2020. The Bishops wisely followed the government guidelines to close the churches for our safety and good health. As we reopen slowly, we will have to do everything to ensure maximum protection for all our parishioners coming to Mass. The situation has been described as a war against an invisible enemy, and it remains so. A good number of our parishioners are at high risk regarding this disease. We will, therefore, strictly follow the CDC general safety guidelines for gathering. 

We will always spread out as much as possible based on the number of people in church at any time. The sign of peace will be by a wave of hands; the virus cannot take away our joyful sharing of peace with one another. As before, the Holy Communion is only in one form, the Sacred Host, and by hand only. We encourage people to use our sanitizer stations as needed. If for some reason, you are not comfortable coming to church yet, the diocesan administrator has extended the dispensation from the Sunday obligation through June. Kindly worship from home as we keep everyone in our prayers.

Our usual Mass schedule for weekdays and Sundays will fall back in place, at noon daily, except Wednesday. On Wednesdays, we begin our usual Adoration/Benediction at 5:00pm and Mass at 6:00pm. On Sundays, 9:30am (English) and 12:15pm (Spanish). We will be communicating the new dates for our First Communion and Confirmation. The Solemnity of Ascension, according the diocese of Savannah practice, is moved from Thursday to this Sunday, May 24.

“After conferring with the College of Consultors, I would like to announce today that in the Diocese of Savannah, the suspension of the public celebration of Holy Mass will be lifted on Monday, May 25, 2020, while the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday mass will remain in place at least through July 27, 2020. The churches will reopen at the discretion of the Pastor on Monday, May 25, 2020 for personal prayer and daily mass.” —Very Rev. Daniel F. Firmin, Administrator, Diocese of Savannah

As we keep everybody in our prayers, we appreciate your offertory support to our parish by mail: 807 3rd St South, Cordele, GA 31015. The Diocese has also made it possible for you do online giving by visiting: https://apps.diosav.org/online-giving

Please make sure you select Cordele- St. Theresa and it will be sent to our Parish.

God Bless you all!

FORMED.ORG

As our parishioner, we are pleased to give you a free subscription to formed.org. Entertaining movies, enlightening programs, inspiring talks, and a great selection of popular eBooks—an incredible online gateway to the best Catholic content – all in one place!

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You can also use the following link: https://churchofthelittleflower.formed.org

Mass Schedule

Weekly Mass Schedule

Sunday          9:30 am English                    12:15 pm Spanish

Monday        12:00 pm
Tuesday        12:00 pm
Wednesday  6:00 pm (Holy Hour begins at 5:00 pm)
Thursday      12:00 pm
Friday           12:00 pm

Saturday Vigil 6:00 pm

Confessions

Sunday         8:45 to 9:15 am  &  11:30 am to 12:00 pm

Wednesday  5:00 to 5:45 pm

About Us

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We are a warm, vibrant Roman Catholic Church located in Cordele, GA as part of the Diocese of Savannah. Our parish represents a rich diversity of cultural, ethnic and economic backgrounds. Though we are small, we are a friendly, welcoming community. We are dedicated to witnessing our faith through worship, education, evangelization and nurturing our faith family through parish life and Christian service. Our motto is that of our patroness, St. Theresa of Lisieux: “to do little things with great love.” We invite you to join us for Mass!

Our History

St. Theresa’s “Church of the Little Flower” has a varied and humble history. Her origins began at a time in history shorty after the time of the death of her patroness St. Therese of Lisieux, who had a great love for missionaries and the small missions that they served. While wanting to be a missionary herself, the cloistered Carmelite nun vowed that one day when she went to heaven, she would fly to the missions and assist them with her prayers. She wrote in her autobiography, “There will be no longer any cloister and grilles and my soul will be able to fly with you into distant lands.” Continue reading “Our History”