Father's Bulletin Letter 10.18.20

Oct 15, 2020


There are new servers in our sanctuary. Currently they are getting their feet wet at daily Mass but will soon be serving on the weekend. Thank you and God bless! Please say a prayer for our servers!

There may be some youth who wish to serve that were not aware of the last call. Please keep an eye out for future opportunities or call Mr. Keith Johnson at 330-836-2233.


CHANGE IN MASS SCHEDULE:  For those who go to daily Mass (or watch it live-streamed) may notice fewer day school students at the Mass. Due to COVID concerns we are rearranging how we hold Mass for students of St. Sebastian Parish School. Beginning this week we will be adding a couple of Masses later in the day to accommodate school Masses at which they can be spread out and also not be around persons not specifically associated with the school. There may still be students at the Thursday 8:15 Mass occasionally but we will be changing the way we distribute communion so that the students and non-school associated attendees may be kept separate (social distancing.). This is not a permanent situation. I foresee the day when we go back to our more typical schedule once our health threat is no longer pressing. For those weeks when this schedule is not feasible, (such as funerals disrupting the schedule and social distancing is not easily possible at the remaining Masses,) Mass will be live-streamed to the classrooms, but only as a last resort measure.

It is a delicate balancing act between health concerns and our mission. Sacraments are an essential part of who we are and must be part of our school’s fabric. I wish I could impress upon our students how fortunate they are that things such as getting to go to Mass, confession, prayer, and learning about God, which can seem so common to them, is not available to most students across our country. And how fortunate are we as a parish that we are able to provide this blessing.

Although faith is the most important reason for our school, it is not all that our school does. Our academic record has boasted high achievement and high growth in all tested categories. Out of the 90 schools in our diocese, we rank in the top 10 for math, English and language, and tied for first in achievement in science. For the second year in a row we were awarded the Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education and Research from the Ohio Academy of Science. We were one of 37 schools to achieve this recognition. Further, our students do very well on placement tests. For example, St. Sebastian students have had the most students scoring in the top 30% of their entrance exams at St. Vincent St. Mary High School for a number of years. Further, last year St. Sebastian students earned about $390,000 in scholarships to continue their Catholic education.

Thank you Mr. Rohr and our faculty and staff for working so diligently to make our school such a special place particularly as you rise to the occasion of such a unique year! Thank you to the families who have chosen our school. And thank you to all who support the school through your direct contributions or through your support of the parish through the collection basket. May God bless you!

COVID:  There was a call from the Summit County Health Department last week asking what our Sunday Mass COVID procedures are. They were supportive of our efforts. Here are our policies:

· Everyone is asked to wear a mask in the church building.

· There are signs on all of the doors saying that makes are required.

· There are masks available from the ushers.

· An Email is sent out every Thursday (Angelus Letter) reminding parishioners to wear a mask.

· With the permission of the diocese, at the 4:30 Saturday Mass, there is an absolute requirement for masks to be worn regardless of     exemptions that are permitted by city, county and state regulations.

· There is hand sanitizer available at the entrances to and throughout the church.

· Every other pew is roped off for social distancing.

· The church is regularly and thoroughly cleaned to COVID standards.

· Distributors of Holy Communion must use hand sanitizer before and after distributing.

· All Ministers of Holy Communion have sanitizer available to them during distributing.

· Those who wish to receive on the tongue at the Ordinary Form Masses are asked to wait until the end of the line.

· Distribution of Communion under the form of Precious Blood has been suspended.

· The Sign of Peace, an optional rite, has been suspended.

· Much of our optional singing has been suspended.

· Musicians are masked and distanced and in some instances separated by Plexiglas.

· Much of the non-essential server’s duties have been augmented to support distancing.

· Hymnals and most communal objects (such as handouts) have been removed from the church.

· The Holy Water fonts remain empty.

· The cry room has been closed until further notice.

· For those uncomfortable with attending Mass, there is a lifting of the obligation to attend Mass given by all the bishops of the state of Ohio.

· St. Sebastian Parish live-streams Mass daily for those who need this service.

To tell the truth, I’d forgotten we did this much until it was necessary to call it to mind. It is funny (not really) how accustomed I have become to much of it. I want to thank you for all of your understanding and ask for your prayers though St. Sebastian for the health of our parish.

God bless,

Fr. Valencheck