Saints Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church
1140 Johnston Drive
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18017
June 8, 2020
Dear Parish Family:
SS Peter & Paul Church, Bethlehem, will re-open on June 13th (4:00 p.m.) and June 14th (10:00 a.m.), for Liturgical Services as the State of Pennsylvania has moved from the Red Zone to the Yellow Zone in Northampton County. SS Peter and Paul Church, Phillipsburg, NJ will re-open on Sunday June 21st at 8:00 a.m. We have completed safety procedures that are in compliance with the civil authorities, Most Reverend Bishop Kurt Burnette, and the Center for Disease Control for the reopening of our churches.
Live Streaming: We will continue to “Live Stream” the weekly Divine Liturgy on Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. beginning on June 13th. The Divine Liturgy will be recorded and posted so that you may view it on our parish website.
Below is a brief summary of the basic guidelines in order for churches to safely reopen while maintaining compliance with the directives, recommendations, and mandates from ecclesiastical and civil authorities:
If you are healthy: Those who are healthy may resume attending liturgical services in our church on Saturday, June 13, 2020 and thereafter. Please note that the dispensation from all ecclesiastical obligations is still extended until further notice in order to protect your health and that of your family.
If you are ill: If you are sick, if you were exposed to the virus, if you believe that you might be contagious, not feeling well, at high risk, or are afraid to contract the virus because of health reasons, a compromised immune system, or if you have young children, you are dispensed from attending worship. You have also received a dispensation from attending liturgical services if you are fearful of becoming sick. If applicable, you are then encouraged to watch or listen to the Divine Liturgy through a means of social media. We continue to offer this option to you via our parish website. Attendees should only be healthy individuals. Please note: When experiencing any cold/flu symptoms, please self-quarantine yourself. This decision will create a wall of safety for everyone. Please remain at home until all unhealthy symptoms subside. You are encouraged to contact your health provider for specific guidance for personal health management. We are all reminded to wash our hands with soap and water or with commercial hand sanitizer while observing the protocols of personal hygiene. We should frequently disinfect touched objects and surfaces instinctively.
Cleaning/Sanitizing/Ventilation: For everyone’s safety, the church will be cleaned and sanitized prior to each service especially in those areas that are commonly used and touched. Hand sanitizer will be available at church entrances. Ventilation will assist with movement of the air. Upon entering the church building, please use hand sanitizer to disinfect your hands. Plastic disposable gloves will also be available as needed at church entrances.
Social Distancing: Please observe social distancing (6 feet) at all times while in church. This practice includes: while sitting and standing in the pews, between non-family members, while standing or moving in the aisles when receiving the Holy Eucharist, when returning to your pew, and lastly when leaving the church. Some pews may be marked with tape in order to create a safe distancing barrier. Additionally, there may be limits on the number of people permitted to enter church. Please respect the rules and anyone who is appointed to enforce them. They exist to protect everyone. Upon entry and exiting the church, the ushers will prop open the doors in order to minimize contact. Please do not touch the doors and windows with your hands. Do not gather as a group in any place throughout the church. Please avoid handshakes and hugs with your fellow parishioners as tempting as it may be. There should be no social gatherings in the church. People should leave the church promptly once the Divine Liturgy has been concluded. The service of our altar servers has been temporarily suspended.
Masks: Wearing a mask is a requirement. Please bring your mask at every opportunity when you attend church. Masks may be available if you are in need depending upon our ability to acquire them. You are expected to have your own mask and it must fit properly or you will be unable to worship with us.
Sacraments and Veneration of Sacred Images: The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available upon request with appropriate safety precautions observed at all times. The use of holy water fonts will be temporarily suspended. Do not kiss or touch the holy images or hand cross of the priest. You are encouraged to venerate sacred images by reverently bowing and blessing yourself. Liturgical books and other liturgical materials have been removed from the pews.
Reception of the Holy Eucharist: Remember to tilt your head back, open your mouth widely without touching the communion spoon with tongue or lips. You may refrain from receiving the Holy Eucharist if you are afraid of becoming ill. In this instance, feel free to approach the priest and ask for a blessing with the chalice. Disposable wooden spoons will be utilized and destroyed by fire afterwards. Refrain from receiving the Holy Eucharist if you have a cold, symptoms of a cold, or anytime when you experience mouth issues (cold, mouth sores, fungal infection…). The priest will sterilize his hands prior to touching the sacred species. The priest will wear a mask during the distribution of the Holy Eucharist.
Collections: Collection Baskets are placed in the rear of the church in order to assist you with financial support for your church. If you are unable to attend, please forward your financial offering directly to the church via mail. Many of you have already adopted this option. The financial obligations of the church continue regardless of whether you attend or not. Please take ownership in your parish by adopting a practice of tithing. Churches have been devastated due to lack of financial support during this pandemic. We are investing the possibility of adopting a system of “online giving” in the very near future. Ushers will not take the weekly collection until safety allows.
Bulletins: The distribution of bulletins in church has been temporarily suspended. One single bulletin will be placed on our bulletin board for inspection. The weekly bulletin will also continue to be posted on our parish website. Feel free to take a photo of the weekly bulletin with your cell phone.
Liturgical Schedule: The church will be open for all liturgical services unless new directives are mandated from the ecclesiastical and civil authorities. All changes will be posted on our parish website.
Non-Liturgical Events: All non-liturgical activities continue to be suspended until safety dictates a change. Suspended activities include: religious education classes and cooking and baking activities.
The above guidelines have been adopted until the Covid-19 Virus subsides.
Visit: The Center for Disease Control:
or https://www.cdc.gov/ for additional information.
We continue to worry about you and your safety. We have implemented safety procedures and we thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We gladly anticipate the return of normal activity to our wonderful parish with you as the anchor. Please continue to pray daily to the Mother of God for protection and continue to care for each other – especially the elderly.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Very Reverend Peter Hosak, Pastor