ST. John the Baptist COVID-19 RESOURCES

St. John the Baptist COVID-19 Response plan UPDATES & RESOURCES

***Please check back regularly for updated information and resources***

11/20/2020 - Covid-19 Surge Update


Dear St. John's Parish Families,

This afternoon Archbishop Hebda sent a letter to all of the priests of the Archdiocese. In it, he thanked us for our ongoing ministry during the pandemic and for our commitment to following the COVID-19 safety protocols instituted by the Archdiocese and public health officials.

Due to the surge in cases – including deaths and hospitalizations – he has asked us to pause, postpone or move virtually, all of our non-sacramental activities between now and Christmas. Out of love for our sisters and brothers and the common good, parish leadership has decided to:

Pause all optional in-person activities
o   Bible studies
o   Small group meetings
o   Adult faith formation

Move to the virtual realm
o   Parish council and committee meetings
o   Small group Bible studies

Most importantly, we will continue to celebrate the Mass both in-person and online, as well as offer Confessions and Adoration. The dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation continues, so if you are in an at-risk category (older than 65, have compromised health, etc.) you are encouraged to worship with us virtually.

We will also continue to offer the Exultemus! event on Saturday, December 5th, as this is an Advent opportunity for Confession, Adoration and Family Formation. This event will be livestreamed as well. 

Please remember to stay home if you are not feeling well or if you are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. We believe these small sacrifices are vital to minimizing the spread of the virus and to keep our parishes open for Mass, confessions, weddings and other sacraments. Archbishop Hebda recorded a video message for you, the faithful, as well HERE.

Please feel free to contact any member of the parish staff and leadership team if you have any questions.

We pray you have a healthy and  blessed Thanksgiving!

God Bless,
Fr. Carlson


7/25/2020 - Masks required by executive order

In accordance with Governor Walz’s latest executive orders, face masks will be required when you are in our buildings beginning Saturday, July 25, 2020. This includes during Mass, adoration, prayer, funerals, weddings, baptisms, visiting the office, etc. (Children 5 years and younger do not need to wear face masks nor do people with a health condition that prevents them from wearing one)

During the 10am outdoor Mass (which is held every Sunday when weather permits) face masks are not required as long as 6 feet of social distancing is kept, however, face masks are still encouraged during outdoor Masses and events. In the event that Mass is moved indoors, face masks will be required.

We are happy to see so many parishioners back at Mass and we thank you for complying with the state requirements.


5/29/2020 - St. John's Return to Mass Preparedness Plan

To view the document that outlines all the steps we are taking to return to public Mass and our preparedness plan, please click HERE.


5/26/2020 - What public mass will look like when we return May 27th


What an interesting time we live in! Thank you for hanging in there with us! We are working with parish leadership and staff to plan for public Masses to begin on Wednesday, May 27th at 8:00am.

Here is what that will look like at St. John’s under the direction and guidance from the Archdiocese and the State of Minnesota. We ask that you please be patient with us as we are figuring this out. We realize that some of this may sound strict, but we are doing what we can to preserve the health and safety of our community. The following steps are subject to change.

Live stream
We will continue live streaming Masses. The Mass dispensation continues and will continue for the foreseeable future. Out of love and concern for you, we ask the following to join us online from home:

  • Anyone over 65 or with a health concern
  • Anyone who does not feel comfortable in public
  • Anyone with a household member with, or with symptoms of, Covid-19 must stay home

Seating
  • Every third row will be available for seating (the other pews will be blocked off). Reduced to 25% capacity which is 150 people.
  • Families of 8 or more will have their own pew
  • For individuals or smaller families sharing pews, you will need to maintain 6 feet apart from anyone not in your family
  • We need to fill the church from front to back with the assistance of our ushers. It is very important in avoiding contact with others that you follow these instructions! Once Mass begins, we will not seat people in the front and we want to ensure that everyone who WANTS to attend Mass is able to so that we do not have to turn anyone away due to empty seats up front!
  • Overflow seating will be in the Gathering Place where we will have chairs set up in rows 6 feet apart.
  • We will NOT have a Sign Up Genius for Masses - it will be first come, first serve so please arrive early. When we are at full capacity in the church and Gathering Place, you will not be allowed to enter the building as we are following the guidelines set for us by both the State of Minnesota and our Archdiocese to preserve the health and safety of our community.

Distribution of Communion
Communion of the Precious Body will be available directly AFTER MASS is finished. Communion distribution will take place in the SIDE AISLES and not down the center aisle. To avoid coming in close contact with others, ushers will direct parishioners to take turns in the communion line along the side aisles. After receiving communion, you may immediately exit out of the FRONT SIDE DOORS ON YOUR SIDE (either by the statue of Joseph or the statue of Mary) and walk to your cars. If you return to your pew to pray after receiving communion, please be aware of others and maintain an appropriate social distance of at least 6 feet. If you return to your pew after receiving communion, please remain in your pew until communion distribution has concluded, and then exit the church in a timely manner. *We will need to clean and sanitize the church after each Mass so we ask everyone to exit in a timely manner.*

For those who attend Mass in the Gathering Place, a Eucharistic Minister will distribute communion after Mass is finished and then you may exit out of the Gathering Place door.

Changes to Note
  • Holy water fonts are empty
  • No hymnals or other items will be available in the pews. Worship aids will be available for you to view on your smartphone or to download and print at home and bring to Mass. Congregational singing is to be temporally discontinued, since singing expels more respiratory particles than speaking does. Instead, we will have a cantor or instrumental music.
  • The Precious Blood will not be offered at communion
  • There will be no holding hands during the Our Father and there will be no sign of peace
  • We will not have an offertory procession so you may drop off your ICA or SWOW donations in the bins outside the Gathering Place door as you enter
  • Collection baskets may be found inside the Gathering Place and next to each exit at the front of the church for your monetary donations

Hygiene and Sanitation
  • You are strongly encouraged to wear a mask and to bring hand sanitizer with you. 
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available as you enter through the Gathering Place and exit at the front of the church.
  • We are looking for volunteers to sanitize all areas before and after each Mass (this is a necessary step to have in place because without it, we will not be allowed to open Masses to the public). You may sign up for cleaning/sanitizing and ushering HERE
  • We ask all volunteers to wear a mask. If you do not have one, we will provide one for you.
  • Outside doors will remain open so people will not have to touch door handles
  • Bathrooms that will be available for emergency use:
    • The Gathering Place handicap accessible bathroom next to the kitchen 
    • The hallway handicap accessible bathroom next to the library and across from the Adoration Chapel & Sacristy
    • All other bathrooms are closed at this time


Cleaners/Lectors/Video/Eucharistic Ministers/Ushers/Greeters
If you are under the age of 65 and would like to sign up we need your help now more than ever! Please sign up for these important ministry positions by emailing Megan Adam at madam@stjohns-excelsior.org.

To sign up for cleaning/sanitizing or ushering, please sign up HERE.


Again, we THANK YOU for understanding that we are doing our best and hope you understand the reason behind the guidelines set for us by the Archdiocese and the State. We truly miss seeing our St. John’s Parish family and continue to offer you up in prayer! 

God bless you,
Fr. Carlson


5/23/2020 - UPdate from the archdiocese

View Archbishop Hebda's video statement regarding the agreement between the church leaders and Governor Walz

 


5/15/2020 - UPdate from the archdiocese

View Archbishop Hebda's video statement here.

 

More information about the latest and how the archdiocese is preparing for the next phase here https://www.archspm.org/update-from-archbishop-hebda-regarding-public-masses/.


5/6/2020 - UPDATE REGARDING MN STAY-aT-HOME ORDER Extention

In accordance with Governor Walz’s latest executive orders, we will be abiding by the Stay-at-Home requirements that have been extended through Monday, May 18th at 11:59pm. The Stay-at-Home requirement that Governor Walz has enacted still allows for churches to remain open, as he recognizes that having places of worship is essential, however, these restrictions will require changes to our already limited sacramental offerings. 

Masses will continue to be available via Live Stream on our YouTube channel at tinyurl.com/sjbyoutube. 

Adoration
We are offering Eucharistic Adoration weekly. Please sign up HERE.

Reception of the Eucharist
Parishioners may receive the Eucharist once during the Easter Season. Please sign up HERE.

Office Hours
The parish office will be closed to the public through May 18th.
 We will reevaluate at that time, depending on future direction from the Governor. In the meantime, staff will continue to be available to assist parishioners by phone and email. If you have an urgent pastoral need, such as death or serious illness, please call the Emergency Line at 952-474-8868 Option 1. 


Archbishop Hebda has given us preliminary guidance that a return to limited public Masses may begin after May 18th. While we do not yet have definitive information on this possibility, we are starting to make preliminary plans to be ready to welcome parishioners back to Mass in some capacity after the MN Stay-at-Home order is lifted. Please see the letter from Archbishop Hebda HERE and stay tuned, as we will provide additional information as it becomes available from Governor Walz and Archbishop Hebda.

3/27/2020 - UPDATE REGARDING MN STAY-AT-HOME ORDER

In accordance with Governor Walz’s latest executive orders, we will be abiding by the Stay at Home requirements that go into effect this Friday, March 27 at 11:59pm until Friday, April 10, 11:59pm. The Stay at Home requirement that Governor Walz has enacted still allows for churches to remain open, as he recognizes that having places of worship is essential, however, these restrictions will require changes to our already limited sacramental offerings. 

Masses will continue to be available via Live Stream on our YouTube channel at tinyurl.com/sjbyoutube. We will also continue to Live Stream Stations of the Cross on Fridays at 5:30pm. 


ADORATION
While the church will remain unlocked for private prayer, we will be reposing the Blessed Sacrament during these next two weeks. We will repose the Blessed Sacrament this Friday, March 27, at 5:00pm. However, please come, as you are able, to spend time with Jesus, who is perpetually present in the tabernacle! For those who have scheduled adoration hours, we invite you to come and pray during that time, but you are not required to do so. We will continue to have a 24-7 live feed of the sanctuary streamed to YouTube for those who wish to pray in view of the tabernacle but are unable to come to the church to do so.

CONFESSION
Confessions will continue to be offered per the revised schedule:

Confessions:
Tuesdays 4:00-5:00pm
Wednesdays & Thursdays 9:00-10:00am
Fridays 6:00-7:00pm
Saturdays 9:00-10:00am & 3:30-4:30pm


It is CRITICALLY important that we enforce strict social distancing and limit the number of people in the church at any given time to NO MORE than 10. We do not want to be perceived to be in violation of these important health directives. Please abide by the required 6 ft distancing between yourself and others waiting in line for confession. And MOST importantly, please do not come to the church for any reason if you or a member of your household is experiencing any cold/flu-like symptoms or if you or anyone in your household has been directly exposed to anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19/coronavirus. 

RECEPTION OF THE EUCHARIST

I have been deeply moved by the many people who have come the last week to receive the Eucharist after Mass. However, in accordance with the decree from Governor Walz, I do not want to be put others in violation of this order, or to encourage "group" gatherings. Because of this, for the time being, I will no longer be offering the Eucharist after Mass. However, I will be offering the opportunity for parishioners to receive the Eucharist individually, because I believe that it is essential. Given that we are all now "homebound", I will be expanding my ministry to the homebound. In so, visiting parishioners to provide you with the Eucharist, I will follow the guidelines recommended by the Center for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health. Recognizing that the number of requests for Holy Communion could well exceed my capacity to visit each person on a daily basis, and perhaps even make a weekly visit to each person difficult, I do ask for people to permit me some flexibility as we navigate these requests in the coming two weeks. Nonetheless, anyone who would like to receive Communion and is a registered member of our parish, please feel free to email communion@stjohns-excelsior.org or call my phone at 952-474-8868 ext. 216. 

OFFICE HOURS
The parish office will be closed to the public through April 10th. We will reevaluate at that time, depending on future direction from the Governor. In the meantime, staff will continue to be available to assist parishioners by phone and email. If you have an urgent pastoral need, such as death or serious illness, please call the Emergency Line at 952-474-8868 Option 1. 

FINANCIAL SUPPORT
If you are not already enrolled in our online giving program, and your own financial status allows you to continue supporting our work, I ask you to please consider registering today, you can go online to faith.direct/MN855It takes just 5 minutes and automates your weekly or monthly giving in just a few easy steps. Please SIGN UP NOW and ensure the continued operations of our parish!

If you are not able to give electronically, please consider mailing in your weekly offertory gift, or dropping it off in the secure deposit box at the Gathering Place entrance. Offertory gifts can be mailed to St. John the Baptist Catholic Parish, 680 Mill Street, Excelsior, MN 55331. Addressed, stamped envelopes are available on the Gathering Place Welcome Desk for your convenience.  

I understand the financial stress many are facing with the COVID-19 situation and want our parishioners to know how very grateful I am for each and every contribution. As a community, we also are very blessed with parishioners who have offered to assist our community members in need, from grocery shopping and errands to assistance accessing Mass online. If you or someone you know are in need of help during these stressful times, please contact stjohns@stjohns-excelsior.org or 952-474-8868 for assistance and support.

Please continue praying for all those who are afflicted by Covid-19 and all those who care for the sick. Know of my continued prayers for you and your family!

God bless,
Fr. Carlson

3/18/2020 - All public masses in the archdiocese are suspended

Archbishop Hebda sent a letter to all priests today at 5:30 pm stating that all public Masses will be suspended in our Archdiocese in order to comply with the CDC recommendations in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Suspension of public Masses will begin immediately. (Read full letter here) For more information, please visit the archdiocesan COVID-19 website here

Fr. Carlson will continue to offer Masses privately as scheduled and they will be live-streamed on our YouTube channel which can be found HERE. Please join us online for all regularly scheduled Mass times, Tuesday-Sunday. Any changes to this schedule will be communicated via email and on our parish website. Please unite yourself to the sacrifice of the Holy Mass and pray the following prayer for Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus, 
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. 
I love You above all things, 
and I desire to receive You into my soul. 
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally, 
come at least spiritually into my heart. 
I embrace You as if You were already there 
and unite myself wholly to You. 
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Amen.

3/13/2020 - Message from Archbishop Hebda

IF an SJB student, visitor or faculty/staff member has a confirmed case of covid-19

  • Contact Pricipal Angela Wroblewski at awroblewski@stjohns-excelsior.org or Parish Administrator Andrea McMerty-Brummer at a amcmerty-brummer@stjohns-excelsior.org immediately. 
  • SJB would contact the MDH in the event of an exposure and take appropriate action based on guidelines, direction provided, and best practice. If in-person classes or childcare were in session, distance learning would be implemented and childcare suspended for a period of time. 
  • SJB would communicate with you as appropriate to provide general information and guidance.  Our practice would be to not release the name of anyone who has a confirmed case. 

SJB's response plan in event of a confirmed case of covid-19

  • If we receive notification that a student, faculty/staff member, or visitor has a confirmed case of COVID-19, SJB school would move to a distance learning environment. The length of time would be determined based on when the case was confirmed. It is likely our building would stay closed for a two-week period.
  • Athletics and co-curricular activities would be cancelled during this same time period. Teams would not be permitted to meet off campus. 
  • The school building would not be open to students, faculty, or staff during a closure. Students would not be allowed to enter the building under any circumstance. School staff will be picking up mail directly from the Post Office. 
  • If the building were to be closed, the main phone line would be answered during regular Main Office Hours (Mon-Friday 8:00 a.m.-4 p.m.). 
  • It is reasonable to expect that SJB Faculty and Staff members will be responding to emails during the regular work day.   
  • We will communicate decisions with families via phone, e-mail, and on our social media - as we do in any situation that alters the regular school day (ie severe weather, etc.).
  • Should SJB move to a distance learning environment, we advise that students and families limit group gatherings outside of the distance learning school day to help limit exposure.
  • Expectations for students and teachers regarding Distance Learning will be published on this page and will be emailed to students and parents when and if the decision is made to close the school building. 
  • SJB will continue to monitor information that is provided to us by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other governmental agencies as appropriate. Additionally, we’ve included a list of helpful resources below.

Resources

How to Talk to Kids about COVID-19

Center for Disease Control COVID-19 Updates

MDH COVID-19 Resource Page

MDH COVID-19 Fact Sheet