Mass Guidelines & Miscellaneous Information

This page was last updated, Wednesday July 28, 2021

The Immaculate Conception and St. John the Apostle parishes response and implementation of these guidelines can be found below.

Guidelines & Miscellaneous Information as Received from Archbishop Rozanski and the St. Louis Archdiocese

In order to keep our parish communities safe, if you or a loved one is diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19), please do not enter your parish grounds and contact your pastor immediately.  [Please quarantine as per the guidance of your local health department.] Pastors have been directed to follow protocols set forth by their local health departments and the CDC upon receiving this information.

Those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to another with the virus within 14 days are not permitted to enter the church or any parish facility, in accordance with national, state and local health directives.  All attendees are asked to check their temperature at home before coming to church. [This advice has not been changed since it was issued and it continues to be sound advice for anyone who might be sick no matter what the illness may be.]

The Dispensation for public Masses has been lifted in the Archdiocese of St. Louis!

Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski has lifted the dispensation as of July 1, 2021.
Please note that parishioners who are sick, homebound, immunocompromised  and gravely concerned for their health retain the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass, which has always been the case in normal times.

At the discretion of each parish pastor:
  • Choirs allowed.
  • Holy water in the Holy Water fonts allowed.
  • Hymnals and missalettes allowed in the pews.
  • Offertory baskets allowed.
  • Reinstating greeters, ushers, servers and lay Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion [with the caveat that these persons follow CDC guidelines, including the wearing of masks by those who have not been vaccinated).
  • It is recommended that Holy Communion, when distributed on the tongue, be distributed by the Mass celebrant only, but this too is at the discretion of the pastor.
  • Reinstating the Sign of the Peace.  Non-contact sign of peace is still recommended.
  • Usage of printed hand-outs and bulletins is allowed.
  • Daily cleaning/sanitizing of pews/sanctuaries and other items is no longer required.
  • Live-streaming may be continued.
The distribution of the Chalice of the Precious Blood during Holy Communion remains prohibited until further notice from the USCCB.

Based on guidance directives issued by the CDC,
Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski  and the Archdiocese of St.  Louis, recognize that those who have been vaccinated no longer need to wear the mask in public.  The unvaccinated are asked to continue wearing their masks in church at this time (this includes those who may have tested positive for Covid 19 and recovered but who have not been vaccinated).  Social distancing and hand sanitizing is still recommended.  Pastors are provided some freedom in how restrictions are implemented.

Update as of Tuesday, July 27th: 
Currently St. Louis City and St. Louis County are mandating masks for all indoor activities, which include the celebration of public Mass as well as classes/activities in our schools and gymnasiums.  Those mandates are being challenged by the Missouri Attorney General and members of the St. Louis County Council.  Once there is a resolution to those challenges, the Archdiocese of St. Louis will work with local government on implementing a strategy adn precautionary measures that provide the best defense against the COVID-19 viurs.  Those details will be shared as soon as we have clear guidance.


Pastors will continue to be guided by directives of local health departments as they make decisions about the best interests of the spiritual and overall well-being of their parish families. 

Guidance from the Archdiocese of St. Louis for archdiocesan schools has been updated after reviewing CDC updates to its guidance for public schools.

Beginning this upcoming school academic year, the wearing of masks in archdiocesan schools will be optional and at the discretion of each individual family.  The archdiocese urges all school families, students, leadership, faculties and staffs to be thoughtful of their own health--and that of their community--in all of their decisions, especially regarding the wearing of masks and monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

Additionally, the Archdiocese of St. Louis strongly encourages all eligible individuals in its school communities to receive the vaccine in order to protect themselves and those around them from the virus.

Following a successful year of in-person learning--during which families were held accountable in monitoring for and communicating COVID-19 symptoms with school administrations--families should be encouraged to take on even more accountability in creating the safest possible environment for their school communities this upcoming year.

Throughout the school year, each educational institution is expected to follow its own Infectious Disease Protocols, which may include temporary closure and/or mask requirements as needed, depending on local health guidelines related to situations that arise in individual schools or communities.

Guidelines may be updated should new information become available from the CDC and local health and government officials.  A letter to parents has been drafted that will serve as a template for schools to use.

The Catholic Health Association urges all healthcare workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and supports its members' efforts to expand vaccination among their workforce.

You may have heard that Pope Francis has announced new directives and limits concerning the celebration of the Mass.  Archbishop Rozanski appreciates and values the variety of valid forms for celebrating the Mass, including all languages and rites, and will evaluate how the Vatican announcement applies to the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  More information can be found in the St. Louis Review.

Religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine are not to be granted at the parish level.  For more information on moral considerations regarding COVID-19 vaccines visit www.usccb.org.

The St. Louis Archdiocese's Office of Strategic Planning has a new administrator.  Welcome Mrs. Linda Putnam, Project Manager.  Mrs. Putnam will be working with Fr. Chris Martin and the CLI in developing and coordinating processes of data gathering, communications and outreach for the strategic planning effort.

Giving Tuesday.  The Archdiocese of St. Louis will participate in #iGiveCatholic as part of the Giving Tuesday initiative that will occur on November 30, 2021, the week of Thanksgiving.  Catholic organizations in the St. Louis Archdiocese are invited to participate.  Registration begins August 16.  For more information visit www.archstl.org/iGiveCatholic.

Fact of Interest:  The West County Deanery has 3 times more Catholics than 50 years ago--fastest growth over that period of any St. Louis Archdiocesan deanery.

A video message from Archbishop Rozanski welcoming back the Faithful can be accessed here:

YouTube Video


 

The Year of St. Joseph
Pope Francis announced a Year of St. Joseph, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the saint's proclamation as patron of the Universal Church.  He intends that the Church use this year so that "every member of the faithful, following his example, may strengthen their life of faith daily in the complete fulfillment of God's will."

The Archdiocese of St. Louis is offering prayers, pilgrimage opportunities, and plenary indulgence opportunities for its faithful to draw them closer to St. Joseph.  Find more information at www.archstl.org.
 
There have been no further updates regarding the parish planning of summer picnics and festivals.  The most recent guidance from the  Archdiocese of St. Louis encourages our parishes to do the following:
  • Continue to follow the guidance of health officials in the county your parish resides in.
  • If possible, move picnics or festival events to the later part of the summer (August/September) to offer time for more vaccinations and with the hope that health officials will continue to loosen restrictions.
  • All plans for picnics/festivals should be tentative, subject to cancellation, and should include the potential for the need to enforce PPE and social distancing requirements should your county still have them in place at the time of the event.
The Mission Office has announced that the Latin America Apostolate is to close.  Ministry will be withdrawn from Bolivia with Mary Queen of Peace Parish in La Paz being turned over to the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of La Paz.   Future collections will be provided through the Missionary Cooperation Plan.

Rural Parish Clinic (RPC) has opened a third mobile medical clinic site in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  The new site is in Bonne Terre, MO at Sonrise Baptist Church (454 Berry Rd).  The clinic will be open to patients on the first Monday of each month, starting April 5, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.  There are plans to add a dental clinic soon.

Annual Catholic Appeal will accept pledges for 2021 until August 13, 2021.   (Hard deadline is August 16, 2021.)

Covid 19 vaccinations were made available through the Archdiocese of St. Louis for our priests and deacons.  Many of our priests and deacons have been fully vaccinated.
 

All guidelines from the Archdiocese of St. Louis for the offering of public Mass during the pandemic can be found at the "Everybody Together" landing page found at archstl.org/together.  Information regarding the lifting of the dispensation can also be found on the landing page.
       

What does this mean for Immaculate Conception and St. John the Apostle parishes? 

The Dispensation for public Masses, initiated as a precaution for the safety of public health in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, has been lifted in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

As of July 1, 2021 the dispensation has been  lifted and the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and other Holy Days of Obligation is back!  As stated above,
parishioners who are sick, homebound, immunocompromised  and gravely concerned for their health retain the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass, which has always been the case in normal times.  We look forward to the return of our Sunday Mass and Holy Days obligations and to the return of all of the Faithful to whom the obligation once again pertains to.  The Sunday obligation may be met by attending any of the following Mass times at our parishes:  Immaculate Conception, Saturday, 5:00 p.m. or Sunday 10:30 a.m.; St. John the Apostle, Sunday 8:00 a.m.

Based on the guidance and recommendations from our archbishop, Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski,  the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the CDC  and the St. Francois County Health Department the following practices will be in effect as per our pastor, Reverend Mark S. Ebert.
  • We have posted guidance advising that the unvaccinated  please wear a mask. Use of hand sanitizer and social distancing of 6 feet from all other individuals not of your household is still recommended.  Many people are still concerned about the spread of Covid-19 and the possibility of the spread of new virus strains.  (Please be respectful to those who continue to wear masks.  There may be vaccinated individuals who choose to continue to wear their mask in addition to those who have not been vaccinated.  We do not stand in judgement one way or the other.  Please continue to social distance, especially with regards to those who continue to wear masks, it is the respectful thing to do.)
  • Confession  is available at both parishes before weekend Masses or by appointment.  Face-to-face confession is now available once again for those who have been vaccinated.  We ask that those who have not received a Covid 19 vaccine continue to use the confessional with the screened window.
  • Choirs allowed.
  • Holy Water allowed in the fonts. (Hand-sanitizer bottles have been moved to easily accessible areas such as the vestibule.)
  • Gather hymnals and Breaking Bread missalettes are allowed and have been returned to their place in the pews. (Many thanks to OCP for providing a fair and generous discount on our purchase of missalettes to use for the remainder of this liturgical year.)
  • Offertory baskets with long handles had already been approved for use.  All offertory baskets are now allowed.
  • Greeters will make their triumphant return with the July ministry schedule.  Ushers had already returned with the earlier permission to use the long-handled baskets and they will also now be allowed to process with the gifts.   Fr. Ebert and Deacon Burch will continue to distribute consecrated hosts at Communion.  Eucharistic Ministers will not yet be added back to the schedule since distribution of the Precious Blood from the chalice is not yet allowed.  Altar Servers will continue their duties.  Immaculate Conception has had difficulty recruiting enough youth to serve and it has been decided to open up the field to adult altar servers who might wish to serve their parish in that capacity. All greeters, ushers, Eucharistic ministers and altar servers who have not been vaccinated are asked to continue to wear masks inside the church.
  • Holy Communion, when distributed on the tongue, will be distributed by Fr. Ebert only and upon request for the time being.  Distribution in the hand is recommended.
  • Reinstating the Sign of the Peace.  Non-contact sign of peace is still recommended.
  • Printed hand-outs and bulletins are allowed.
  • Daily cleaning/sanitizing of pews/sanctuaries and other items is no longer required.
  • Capacity restrictions and social-distancing measures are still in effect.  Some pews will continue to be roped off to provide additional space for those who are more comfortable with this accomodation.
  • Processions.  In addition to the procession of the gifts for communion, Processions will also be added back at the start of Mass and at the end.  Fr. Ebert and Deacon Mike will return to greeting everyone at the door at the close of Mass.
  • Children's Liturgy of the Word.  We know that our catechists and children have missed participating in CLW each Sunday.  Program material runs on a September-August cycle along with the school year.  The 2021-2022 resource book will be ordered soon and CLW will be added back into our Mass celebrations for our children, ages 5-12 (Kindergarten through 6th Grade) in September.
  • Parish School of Religion and Youth Group will return to regular weekly in-person meetings in September.  Registration for PSR begins in August. 
Guidance provided by the Archdiocese of St. Louis for archdiocesan schools will be applied as much as practicable to our Parish School of Religion program at Immaculate Conception.   The decision as to whether a child wears a mask will be left to the discretion of the parent.  Likewise, it is expected that parents will monitor for symptoms and should not send sick children to PSR.  Parents are expected to inform the CRE, Deacon Michael Burch, of COVID-19 symptoms when appropriate.  Families are encouraged to follow quarantine and isolation guidance provided by the CDC and/or the local health department.

Mandated Masks in St.  Louis City and St. Louis County?  This is being challenged and we'll have to wait and see what happens.  At this time we do not anticipate this new mask regulation to affect counties outside of the St. Louis County area and we will be monitoring the decisions of our own county health authorities and governments.

There are no anticipated changes to our Masses at Immaculate Conception and St. John the Apostle as a result of the recent announcement by Pope Francis regarding the limits on the celebration of the Mass.  The new rules mostly apply to those locations celebrating the Latin Mass and it is not expected that there will be any changes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  There are no known instances of the Latin Mass rites being used incorrectly or without permission in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Please do not ask Fr. Ebert for a religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine.  Priests at the parish level do not have that kind of authority!

How does the stance being taken by the Catholic Health Association that all healthcare workers should be vaccinated for COVID-19 affect us?  It does not really affect us.  Although we have parishioners who work for entities that may receive this guidance, it is not our place to tell people what to do regarding their physical health.  It is our duty to provide guidance regarding their spiritual health, and although we have advised people to wear masks, social distance and use hand-sanitizer, the difference is that these are simple and non-invasive things that we can do to ensure everyone feels comfortable while at Mass.  There has been no guidance from the Archdiocese of St. Louis that says we must tell people to go get the vaccine.  Each individual must weigh the pros and cons of taking the vaccine based on their own risk factors and individual preferences.

There have been no breakouts of COVID-19 associated with our parishes. 
If anyone in our parish community is diagnosed with COVID-19, please contact the Rectory office to let us know.

A big shout-out to our cleaning staffs at both Immaculate Conception and St. John the Apostle who have maintained their dedicated service to cleaning and sanitizing our parishes and the rectory on as regular a schedule as possible.  Thank you Karen and Terry Snead for regularly cleaning  the church facilities at Immaculate Conception.  Thank you Connie and Caitlyn Kennon for regularly cleaning both the church facilities at St. John the Apostle and the Rectory and offices at Immaculate Conception.  

Every week we see a few more familiar faces at Mass.  There is still room for more.  To those who have not yet returned, please know that we miss you, and pray for you, and look forward to your return when you feel able and comfortable with doing so.

Weekday Masses at Immaculate Conception are  Monday-Thursday at 8:00 a.m., with Saturday Mass scheduled at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday Mass scheduled at 10:30 a.m. 

St. John the Apostle has Sunday Mass at 8:00 a.m. 


We shall continue to follow guidance by our archbishop, Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski and our archdiocese, the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Anyone who is not obligated to attend Mass as per the above statement, may continue to live-stream or watch Mass on television or electronically even though the dispensation has been lifted.  Parishes that have been live-streaming are being encouraged to continue doing so.   We do encourage you to either attend Mass at your home church or to continue watching the Mass from your home either on television or live-streamed on an electronic device.

Both Immaculate Conception and St. John the Apostle continue to follow safety guidelines as outlined by the Archdiocese of St. Louis and recommended by the St. Francois County Health Department.   If you have a temperature or do not feel well, please stay home.  Hand sanitizer is available throughout the church and visitors are encouraged to use it.

For a list of COVID-19 symptoms visit the CDC website.  The link is provided below. 

Regarding the guidance provided by the Archdiocese concerning parish events, we will have to wait and see what our local health authorities recommend.  We hope to be able to provide funeral dinners soon and are still considering the feasibility of holding other events.  

The annual spring fling is back on the calendar.  Changing Gears and Changing Seasons!  The event has been moved to the fall, September 11, 2021, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.  The car show will be set up on the Immaculate Conception parking lot, the rummage will be moved outside to the pavilion (items may be dropped off at the pavilion the evening before or early the morning of) and local food truck/vendors will be invited to set up on the driveway near the pavilion.  Some seating will be available in the grove of trees.
  
The annual Chicken and Dumpling Dinner hosted by our Mary & Martha Ladies Sodality will also be held this year on Sunday, November 7, 2021.   The Mary & Martha Sodality  has resumed holding meetings.  The next meeting will be Tuesday, August 10 at 6:00 p.m. 

Our Knights of Columbus men are in the process of making some serious changes.  The men of the parish still hope to resume 5th Sunday breakfasts as soon as they are able to.

Regarding the closing of the Latin America Apostolate mission.  Future financial support will continue through the Missionary Cooperation Plan.  As it happens, our scheduled speaker for this summer's Missionary Cooperation Plan weekend will be speaking to us about the Latin America Apostolate.  We look forward to learning more about these developing events on that weekend.  The date for our Mission Co-op weekend is August 7-8, 2021.

The new Rural Parish Clinic (RPC) is now open!  Qualifying residents of St. Francois county will be able to use this clinic.  A search committee visited both Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph, Bonne Terre, but the Sonrise Church location in Bonne Terre proved to be the best set-up.  It's location with visibility from highway 67, it's parking area and it's impressive electrical hook-ups/supply made it the best choice.

2021 Time, Talent and Treasure Directory has been printed by Guide Book publishing and mailed to every registered household for both Immaculate Conception and St. John the Apostle.  If you have not yet verified that the contact information, including the listed phone number, is correct for your household, we ask that you do so as soon as possible.  Corrections are requested.  Please contact Brenda at the Rectory Office, 573-431-2427, to provide updated information.  If you did not receive your directory copy in the mail, please also contact Brenda.  Directories are free to registered households.  Cost to print our directories are paid for by the advertisers listed within the pages of the directory.  We are extremely grateful to our generous advertisers.  We hope that you thank them and patronize their businesses.

Please continue to pray for the parish, staff and all of our shut-ins and nursing home residents.

If you are 60+ years of age or have an underlying health condition and have not been vaccinated we do encourage you to continue to remain home at this time.  If you have received your vaccination and feel safe returning we certainly welcome you.  As per CDC recommendations for public gatherings and directives from Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski along with the Archdiocese of St. Louis, those who have been vaccinated are no longer required to wear a mask in church. 

3rd Wednesday of the month Eucharistic Adoration.  Please join us on the third Wednesday of the month.  Adoration begins at the close of the morning Mass around 8:30 and ends with Benediction at 11:30 a.m.  Social distancing practices remain in effect.  

Baptisms, weddings and funerals are allowed, but no gatherings associated with these events (i.e. funeral dinners) are allowed until further notice.  We expect this to change very soon.

We will let you know about any other events as they draw closer.  Please refer back to this page and to upcoming bulletins.  

Confession at Immaculate Conception on Saturdays is 4:15-4:45 p.m., Sundays 10:00-10:15 a.m.  Confession at St. John the Apostle is Sundays 7:30-7:45 a.m.  Please maintain 6 ft. of distance between yourself and the next nearest person in line.  All Confessions are behind the screen with no face-face Confession permitted at this time.
 
Holy Communion for the home-bound is available upon request  with safety measures in place including the use of masks, sanitizer and adhering to social distancing.  Visits to nursing homes, hospitals and the prison system are still restricted, but restrictions are easing.  Please keep us informed and we will do what we can when we can to provide communion calls, anointing of the sick and visits when possible.

Anointing of the Sick by a priest is still possible for those who are seriously ill or in danger of death.  Please contact Fr. Ebert to schedule a home visit.  If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, or have a fever, or have tested positive for COVID-19,  please inform Fr. Ebert before scheduling the visit. 

Rosary will begin 1/2 hour before weekend Masses on the first weekend of each month. The Rosary leader may wish to remain in the pews rather than leading from the pulpit.  A patriotic rosary is being held in the parish hall at Immaculate Conception every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.  All are welcome.

Hand sanitizer and extra masks will continue to be made available and easily accessible as long as the supply lasts.

Social distancing  is still encouraged.

We would like to remind you that the parish grounds are always open.

The parish bulletin has been published every single week including during the period of Mass suspensions.  Extra copies of weeks which you may have missed are still available upon request, although we are running out of  storage space and will need to begin discarding some of them soon.   Paper copies of the most recent weekly bulletins  will continue to be made available outside in the water-proof boxes that have been installed at both Immaculate Conception and St.  John the Apostle.  The box at Immaculate Conception is located at the front of the church on the memorial pavers patio fencing, and the box at St. John the Apostle is  on the handrail at the front steps.  The bulletin is also available every week on this website (see menu at left Church Bulletins), or if you so choose, you may arrange to receive an e-bulletin to your personal inbox.  To subscribe for e-bulletins visit https://ebulletin.jspaluch.com.

Mass Intention requests may continue to be dropped off at the office or mailed to Immaculate Conception at PO Box 66, Park Hills, MO  63601.  Likewise, if you would like a candle lit in the alcove, please let us know.

More information and links about online and televised Masses continues to be made available here on our website.  Visit our Links page for more information about accessing online and televised Masses.

We ask that you please keep the needs of your parish and other individuals in mind.  Lots of prayer is needed at this time.  There will be many who continue to be uncomfortable with returning to a public Mass at this time because of age or health issues.   Keep in touch with your family members and neighbors and make sure they have what they need. Keep in mind that people who tend to suffer from depression and anxiety  may be finding this period of social isolation especially difficult, so don't hesitate to call and just let them know that you are thinking about them and praying for them.   Fr. Ebert, Deacon Burch and Brenda Carrow  are only a phone call or email away.  Please keep in touch and let us know what we can do for you.

Remember our food pantries and other charitable organizations.  Consider supporting St. Vincent De Paul, Catholic Charities of St. Louis and the Annual Catholic Appeal as there is  a greater demand placed on all of these organizations right now.    THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION FOOD PANTRY  CONTINUES TO BE OPEN ON FRIDAYS 7:30-9:30 A.M.!  Safety precautions and Social distancing procedures have been put in place. 


Online giving remains an option and can be accessed through our online giving webpage which can be found on the menu at left listed as Give (Online Giving).  Online giving can be provided directly through your bank or by credit card.  Tithes/donations can always be dropped off or mailed to Immaculate Conception.  To mail your contribution or any other communications, please send to Immaculate Conception, P.O. Box 66, Park Hills, MO. 
Thank you once again to those who find ways to provide regular contributions to their parish even when they themselves may not be able to attend in-person. 

For more information or for a prayer from the USCCB, visit  archstl.org/together.  For information about the virus visit the website for the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

Live Streaming of Masses Daily from the Cathedral Basilica, St. Louis!
Daily Masses 10:00 a.m.


A BIG SHOUT OUT TO ALL OF OUR ADVERTISERS!

Weekly bulletins are sponsored by:

Bauman Oil Distributors, Inc.
Catholic Cruises & Tours
Catholic Match Missouri
Catholic Supply of St. Louis, Inc.
C.Z. Boyer & Son Funeral Homes
Earth Mother Health Foods
First State Community Bank
Grand True Value Rental (Farmington)
Jeff Swinarski, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Karsch Family Dental (Farmington)
Knights of Columbus 11882, Park Hills
Koppeis Heating & Cooling (Farmington)
LeafGuard
Master Shield Gutter Protection
McDonalds of Desloge
The Pasta Hous Co. (Farmington)
Save-A-Lot
Westmount Dental Arts (Farmington)


Time, Talent, Treasure Directory 2020 sponsored by:

C.Z. Boyer & Son Funeral Homes
Domino's
Edward Jones, Brandon Penberthy, Financial Advisor (Desloge)
First State Community Bank
Hearing Care Partners, Audiology & Hearing Center
Interstate All Battery Center
Karsch Family Dental
Koppeis Heating & Cooling (Farmington)
ReFresh Retail Store
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