The church will re-open for public Mass beginning with daily Mass on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 8:00am. Weekend Masses will resume on Saturday, May 30th / Sunday, May 31st.
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As we reopen our churches for the celebration of the Mass and Sacraments with the People of God present and actively participating, we recognize that we cannot eliminate the very possible risk of infection from the novel corona virus or COVID-19. However, your parish priests and I are committed to mitigating the risk as much as possible. We reopen because we believe as Church that there are no substitutes for the reception of the sacraments and our first priority is to be the sign of hope and instrument of the salvation of the entire human race."
On Tuesday, May 26, parishes will resume celebrating daily Masses. (May 18 in Monroe County). However, social distancing will be required with approximately 6 feet separation between persons (except for family members from same household); worshippers are asked to wear a face mask and to keep it on during Mass, removing it only to receive Holy Communion. Hymnals, missalettes, holy water will be removed from the church; and the church and its facilities will be sanitized between services. Hand sanitizers are available at church entrances. In entering or leaving the church, and in approaching the altar to receive Holy Communion please maintain proper social distance. These arrangements will take some time getting used to and so you are asked to pay attention to ushers or others who may be directing. After Mass please do not congregate in the church or outside but make your way home.
During Mass, please do not hold hands (for example, during the praying of the Lord's Prayer), or exchange the Sign of Peace. While preaching or at the altar the celebrant will not use a face mask, but he and other ministers will when they distribute Holy Communion. (If anyone disagrees about the necessity of wearing a face mask, I would ask that person to wear it anyway -out of respect for and charity towards their fellow parishioners.)
Social distancing will reduce the numbers of faithful that can be accommodated - perhaps only 25-30% of your church's usual occupancy. Your parish priests -with input from their pastoral councils -will plan appropriately -perhaps by adding Masses to the schedule if necessary or setting up some type of "reservation system" to assure that everyone who wishes to attend can do so.
The dispensation from the obligation of attending Mass on Sunday continues indefinitely. Good judgment and reason should guide your decision as to when you should resume coming to Sunday Mass.
If you are sick or have flu like symptoms, stay home. If you are frail because of age or are vulnerable because of an underlying condition, or you are a caretaker of someone who is, it might be reasonable for you to stay home. If you are fearful, stay home.
These "home bound" parishioners should contact the parish rectory and arrange for the Sacraments to be brought to them.
We do not live in a risk-free world-we never have. There is a certain amount of risk we assume when we cross a street, or when we get in our cars to go to work or even to the comer store. We can never eliminate risk completely, but prudence helps us to mitigate risk whenever and wherever possible. So, when we cross a street, we go to a crosswalk and look both ways before crossing; when we get into our car, we make sure that it is operating safely, that the brakes work, etc. and when we make a turn we use our turn signals.
The corona virus, COVID-19, has introduced new risks into our lives -and until a vaccine is widely available, we will be unable to eliminate completely the risks, but we must prudently try to mitigate those risks wherever and whenever possible. For this reason, the entire world put itself into "lock down", practicing social distance, washing hands frequently, and pretty much staying at home as much as possible. The "lock down" succeeded in as much as the spread of this very contagious virus was flattened and our hospitals were not overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases. Nevertheless, a high price was paid by all -for all were affected even if not all were infected. Our lives were upended: schools closed, public gatherings limited, millions of jobs lost -and, to be sure despite these measures, many thousands fell sick and too many of our loved ones died.
In the Archdiocese of Miami, we suspended Masses with congregations present beginning March 16. However, we never "closed": our parish offices remained open, our schools, our Catholic Charities, our Catholic Health Services, our Pastoral Center all continued their operations. Priests continued making sick calls, hearing confession, and offering Mass daily. Through livestreaming of Masses, Bible studies and many other activities your priests strove to remain present to you, their parishioners. And while they could not celebrate Masses in church with you these past many weeks, they never failed in offering you, the people of God, their most "essential service" of their prayers.
Our civic authorities throughout the US and the world are slowly "unlocking" the various jurisdictions under their control even while scientists and medical professionals continue to urge caution. The novel corona virus is still among us -as is the risk of contagion. As we move to reopen, prudence -the ability to govern and discipline ourselves by the use of reason -must govern our actions. There is no substitute for good judgment.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Thomas Wenski Archbishop of Miami
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Fr. Francis A. Akwue
Dear Family of St. Henry:
Our Archbishop, Most Rev. Thomas Wenski, has directed us to begin preparing for the possibility of reopening our church for public worship and other activities. This doesn’t mean that the pandemic is over, but that we have to learn to live with it without falling victim to it. We are not to remain in lockdown forever, but will predispose ourselves to embrace new ways of doing things.
Our preparation begins with comprehensive cleaning and sanitizing the entire church, marking out pews and floor for social distancing and provision of hand sanitizers. Members are to wear face masks to church, families may sit together, no shaking of hands or touching of doors and other places. Missal-Hymn Books will not be in use. Members may bring and use their own worship materials which they use and take home with them as they leave. Pews are to be cleaned and sanitized before and after each use. Please begin now to dispose yourselves to cooperate with one another for the good of all.
Members with health issues that may have weakened their immune system and anyone who is not feeling well are encouraged to stay safe at home and join in spirit with those in the church. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Lectors and servers will come in their ‘Sunday best’. Common robes will not be in use because we can’t have them cleaned fast enough for other people to use them.
Above all, the safety of all should be the priority of all. I encourage all who will receive this by e-mail to read and discuss this message with members by phone and other means. Any questions? Call the parish office for clarification. Keep safe!
- Father Francis
Querida familia de St Henry:
Nos estamos preparando para la próxima apertura de nuestra iglesia.
Nuestro Arzobispo, Reverendísimo Thomas Wenski, nos ha indicado que comencemos a prepararnos para la posibilidad de reabrir nuestra iglesia para el culto público y otras actividades. Esto no significa que la pandemia haya terminado, sino que tenemos que aprender a vivir con ella sin ser víctimas de ella. No debemos permanecer encerrados para siempre, sino que debemos adoptar nuevas formas de hacer las cosas.
Nuestra preparación comienza con una limpieza integral y desinfección de toda la iglesia, marcando bancos y pisos para el distanciamiento social y la provisión de desinfectantes para manos. Los asistentes deben usar máscaras faciales para ir a la iglesia, las familias pueden sentarse juntas, sin darse las manos ni tocar puertas y otros lugares. NO se usarán los misales que normalmente están en los bancos. Pueden traer y usar sus propios misales u objetos de devoción y regresar a casa con ellos. Los bancos se limpiarán y desinfectarán antes y después de haberlos usado. Por favor, comience ahora a disponerse para cooperar unos con otros por el bien de todos.
Se exhorta a los miembros con problemas de salud o que tienen debilitado su sistema inmunológico y cualquier persona que no se sienta bien a permanecer en casa y unirse en espíritu con los de la iglesia. Los Ministros extraordinarios de la Sagrada Comunión, lectores y servidores vendrán en su "domingo mejor". Las albas de monaguillos y servidores del altar que son de uso colectivo, no se usarán porque no podemos limpiarlas lo suficientemente rápido como para que otras personas las usen.
Lo más importante para cada uno en particular debe ser la seguridad de todos. Animo a todos los que reciban este mensaje por correo electrónico a leerlo y discutirlo con otros miembros de nuestra congregación. ¿Alguna pregunta? Llame a la oficina parroquial para cualquier aclaratoria. ¡Mantente a salvo!
- Padre Francis
St. Henry Church’s Golden Jubilee: 1969 - 2019:
Building a Legacy - One Brick at a Time
In honor of St. Henry Catholic Church's Golden Jubilee in 2019, we will be designing and installing a Golden Jubilee Center, located in the center island area of our property.
We are offering parishioners, community members, and businesses the opportunity to have a brick or bricks engraved and installed in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee. We hope to create a beautiful, relaxing area for all our members to use and enjoy, while creating lasting memories for years to come.
St. Henry Church’s International Food, Family & Fun Day:
On June 9th St Henry's held their annual community event - International Family Fun Day with plenty of food, games, activities, & raffles for everyone to enjoy a lovely day.
St. Henry Church celebrated three significant milestones in the history of the parish:
St. Henry Church broke ground for addition that includes new covered front entrance.
Pictured from left: St. Henry's pastor, Father Francis Akwue; pastor emeritus, Msgr. James Reynolds; Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher; David Prada, senior director of Building and Construction for the archdiocese; Brian Herbert, of Gallo Herbert Architects; and Msgr. John Glorie, a retired archdiocesan priest.
Drawn together by our common bonds of Faith, Hope and Love, we strive to serve God and one another as members of a parish family under the patronage of Saint Henry.
With ardent faith we celebrate the Eucharist, sharing the mystery of Christ's presence in our Holy Communion.
Compelled by the love of Christ, we reach out beyond the walls of our church and minister, not only to members who are unable physically to attend and participate actively in the Liturgy, but also to people near and far, who need our services.