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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

Normally I would begin this column with a Welcome Back or a Happy New Year ( as in - program year). But nothing really fits this year. I hope many are getting the chance to be away for these days and, hopefully, enjoy this last, unofficial weekend of summer. I've been trying to keep up with the latest on the school openings but it gets very confusing which district is doing what. Needless to say, Covid 19 continues to change our lives, almost on a daily basis. At least we can be thankful that it seems to be on a downward trend and we all pray it continues that way when activity returns.

You probably know that the Governor has raised the numbers for inside religious activities to 150. It's only a small step forward but any step is something to be grateful for. Of course, it brings with it it's own complications. The first is that we will have to open the transepts to accommodate any larger numbers of worshipers. As we do this, may I remind everyone to follow the directionality of the arrows on the floor. Over and over again we see the stress on the airborne dangers inherent in this virus. Hence the need for masks and the avoidance for face to face interaction. This is the reason that moving in one direction only is important. Please follow that directionality for your own safety.

The second consideration is spreading out throughout the whole church. This is important not only for social distancing but also for timing when it comes to the communion procession. The last time we opened the Passaic Street transept, many people sat there. The result was that distribution of Holy Communion took longer for the transept than for the main body of the church. If possible, please fill up the main body of the church before taking a seat in either transept. Because there can only be a single line coming to communion down the center aisle of the Passaic Street transept, only one side of that transept will be invited out at a time. In exiting the church through either the Passaic Street or Hudson Street doors, the transepts will be invited to exit first, down the center aisle of the transepts. Those exiting the main body of the church, out the Prospect Street doors, may exit down the side aisles at the same time. Those exiting the main body, but through the Hudson or Passaic Street doors will be asked to exit up the main aisle last. Confusing - unfortunately, yes. But there is only one goal in all of this - to keep everyone safe. It will probably take us a few weeks to get accustomed to yet another new reality, but I'm sure we'll get there. (Until the Governor changes it again.) I also want you to know that we've returned the Sacrament of Penance back to the reconciliation rooms (the confessionals). With the increase in the numbers of weddings, the two rooms off the main lobby do not provide adequate confidentiality as people congregating in the lobby can hear and be heard by those confessing. We have added more ventilation to the confessionals and still require masks and are sure these extra precautions provide the protection needed in today's pandemic.

I want to bring your attention to an important event at the end of this week. The 19th Anniversary of 9/11. When we first started this Memorial Mass, I told family members we would continue it as long as I remained pastor (I didn't think then I would be here so long). This year, as with so many other events, Covid 19 has brought challenges, even in the civic remembrances. Because of my concern about numbers, and keeping within the parameters set by the Governor, there will be two memorial masses, one at noon and the traditional memorial at 7:00PM, on 9/11. Both will have music and, at both, the names will be read. Only the 7:00PM will be live- streamed. Both will require registration through the online portal only, beginning on Tuesday, 9/8. I will celebrate the noon. Fr. Anthony, whose father lost his life on 9/11, will celebrate the 7:00PM. Join us for either memorial.

Finally, as I just mentioned, we welcome Fr. Anthony Palombo, newly ordained on June 21, 2020, who joined our parish on September1. Fr. Anthony will speak at the end of each mass this weekend and will write a column for next week's bulletin. I am sure you will welcome him as warmly as you always have any new priest who comes here to serve.

Be well, be safe and God Bless,
Fr. Ron

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One Passaic St., Ridgewood, NJ 07450
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