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Hello everyone!

We’ve been getting lots of questions about Christmas Masses, especially in light of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, so we thought we’d try to share some answers.

1. When are Christmas Masses? Will any be livestreamed?

Christmas Eve:

  • 4 pm at Church (also livestreamed on YouTube) with Fr. Mike
  • 4:30 pm at Medina Performing Arts Center, 851 Weymouth Road (by the Rec Center) with Fr. Tony (John Husbands band)
  • 6:30 pm at Church with Fr. Bob Wenz (note: this Mass will no longer be livestreamed due to the unavailability of volunteers)
  • 10 pm at Church with Fr. Mike

Christmas Day:

  • 8 am at Church with Fr. Tony
  • 10 am at Church with Fr. Mike
  • 11:15 a.m. communion distribution outside (this is new**)
  • 12 noon at Church with Fr. Tony

2. Will any Masses be outside?

No. Like many of you, we had hoped to be “back to normal” this year and not need to! We looked at it again this week, but, unfortunately, for a number of reasons — especially the rain that is predicted for Friday and Saturday — it’s really not possible.

3. What if the church is full and I’m not comfortable in large crowds?

You have options.

  • Sit downstairs in the church basement and participate via the livestream, then come upstairs into the church only for communion.
  • Sit in your car in our parking lot and listen on 101.5 FM, then come inside to receive communion in the church.
  • Attend Mass at the Performing Arts Center, which seats 1,200 people (masks strongly encouraged BUT optional).
  • Attend Mass in the Middle Auditorium, which seats 400 people, at Medina High School, where a livestream of the PAC Mass will be shown on a screen (masks required).
  • Watch Mass at home via our St. Francis Xavier Parish YouTube channel (the 4 pm Mass will be livestreamed) and come to the church at 11:15 a.m. Christmas Day to receive communion

4. Will communion be available outside the church?

Yes, communion will be distributed in the parking lot, during the 10 a.m. Mass on Christmas Day (not on Christmas Eve).

Father Tony has decided to add an 11:15 a.m. distribution in the church parking lot (or in the Xavier Room if it’s raining) on Christmas Day for those who watch the livestream at home. Please do not arrive before 11 a.m. to allow time for the parking lot to clear after the 10 a.m. Mass.

Aside from this, if you are at Mass and have a particular need for communion outdoors, please alert one of our ushers and we will try to accommodate you.

5. Are masks required in church?

Bishop Malesic issued this statement on Monday:
“I strongly encourage everyone, whether vaccinated or not, to wear a face mask while attending Mass indoors. All who want to attend Mass, and who are otherwise vulnerable, should feel safe and welcome inside our sacred spaces. We should also do our best to help reduce, as much as possible, the number of COVID-19 cases that require the attention of those working in our hospitals.”

We will follow the bishop’s directives, as always. A limited number of disposable masks are available at the church entrances.

6. Is there social distancing in church?

About 1/3 of the pews in the back of the church, on both sides, are roped off for every-other-pew seating. If you are uncomfortable with the spacing, we suggest you participate via the livestream in the church basement. (Most of our school children participate in Mass weekly via livestream to their classrooms!)

7. Is Mass attendance obligatory?

Those who are ill, have significant health risk factors or care for someone who is immune compromised or ill, as well as those who have significant fear or anxiety about contracting the coronavirus in a large group of persons are not obliged to attend Mass.

8. Which Masses are the least busy?

Hard to say, but based on pre-COVID experience, here’s Fr. Tony’s advice:

  • For the 4 p.m. Mass at church, arrive by 3:20 p.m. to get a seat.
  • For the 4:30 p.m. Mass at the PAC, you’ll want to arrive by 4. We’ve had as many as 1,600 at the PAC (including overflow).
  • The 6:30 p.m. Mass usually has plenty of room.
  • The 10 p.m. Mass can be busy.
  • On Christmas Day, the 8 a.m. is usually not too busy, but the 10 a.m. and 12 noon Masses can be full.

9. Tell me how this works at the Performing Arts Center.

  • When the church lot is full for the 4 p.m. Mass, cars will be directed to the Performing Arts Center, 851 Weymouth Road (across from our parish cemetery).
  • It’s recommended that you come by 4 p.m. to the PAC for your best seating options. In pre-COVID years, it would start to get harder to find seats after 4.
  • Park in front of the center, walk up the steps, and the auditorium is just inside those doors.
  • Handicapped accessibility is available here. Best to arrive by 4.
  • Masks are strongly encouraged BUT optional here.
  • Capacity: 1,200, including the balcony

10. What about the Middle Auditorium?

  • In previous years, an overflow crowd of about 100 has watched a livestream of the PAC Mass on a screen in the high school cafeteria. This year, the Middle Auditorium was available, so we are using that instead for overflow or for those who want a “masks required” space.
  • The sound will be better here than in the cafeteria, and seating more comfortable!
  • Communion will be brought here during Mass.
  • Handicapped accessibility is a little better in the main auditorium than here.
  • Capacity: 400
  • Use the same entrance as the PAC. It’s a little bit of a walk to the Middle Auditorium, so we’d love some help directing people if you or your kids could stand at crossroads and point the way! We also will need a few more ushers to help with directing folks for communion and taking up the offertory collection. If you can help, please contact Dawn Cavanaugh at dcavanaugh@sfxmedina.org.

11. What about weekend Masses? How will this work?

Dec. 26 is the Feast of the Holy Family, and the Sunday obligation remains in place. We will have Mass at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 noon, and 5:30 p.m. There will NOT be a 5 p.m. Saturday vigil Mass. The 8 a.m. Mass will be livestreamed this week.

A special collection will be taken up during all Masses Dec. 26 to benefit the victims of the tornado in western Kentucky. Checks can be made out to St. Francis Xavier Parish, with “tornado relief” in the memo line. Items to fill the trailer may be donated before and after the morning Masses Dec. 26. See our website for a list of items and more information.

We hope this answers your questions! The parish office is closed Thursday through Saturday. Follow our Facebook page and website for more information and updates.

Wishing you the gift of faith, the blessing of hope, and the peace of God’s love at Christmas and always.

From the entire st. francis xavier parish staff
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