I hope everyone is doing well. I can’t believe it’s been almost three months since I have seen you. I truly miss all of you. I am getting excited knowing that our time to be together is coming soon. I, with our wonderful parish staff, have been preparing for your return to St. Mark and St. Luke for public Masses. Please know, as we move into the yellow phase of reopening, I must follow the guidelines established by the Diocese of Harrisburg. That being said, I am happy to inform you that we will begin our public Celebration of Mass on the weekend of June 13 and 14. I will start offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation at St. Mark every Monday from 6:30 – 7:30 pm, beginning June 8. Confessions will be heard in the foyer between the church and the social hall. To prevent the spread of the virus, you will need to remain standing. Confessions will be face-to-face. Please park in the north lot and wait in your car. We will have volunteers to let you know when it’s your turn. If there is still a line at 7:30, I will continue to hear confessions. The church itself and restrooms will remain closed.
I will be mailing a letter to everyone next week with the guidelines given to us by the Diocese. This letter will explain the new procedures that we have formulated to fit our parish’s specific needs.
I kindly ask for your prayers and patience as we work to make the liturgy and sacraments as available as possible during these unusual times. I know that you are excited to come back to Mass. Please know that I can’t wait for you to come back to church again, however, I must make sure we have a safe place for you to come back to.
Bishop Gainer has issued guidance for parishes in Pennsylvania’s “yellow” zones that will allow the reopening of churches. Governor Wolf has declared that Franklin county (and St. Mark and St. Luke) will move to the yellow phase on Friday May 29, 2020, so the Bishop’s guidance will soon apply to us. In the yellow phase, the stay at home order is lifted, but many precautions will continue.
Father Walter will be mailing a letter to parishioners in the coming weeks with details regarding the return to public masses. Please keep Fr. Walter in your prayers, and remember that he continues to celebrate Masses privately.
To get a glimpse of what reopening might look like for us, Bishop Gainer has issued guidance for reopening in the yellow phase, available at https://www.hbgdiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Phases-for-Restoration-of-Public-Worship-YELLOW.pdf. Fr. Walter has the final authority to decide how to reopen.
More information from our Diocese, including links to live-streaming of Masses and other at-home resources, is available at:
More information from our State Government, including the latest guidance on the Stay at Home Order and phased reopening plan, is available at:
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PARISH MISSION STATEMENT
St. Mark the Evangelist, Greencastle, and our Mission St. Luke the Evangelist, Mercersburg, endeavoring to live the gospel of Jesus Christ as individuals and as a community of participation of all our members in worship, believing, learning and in service. As a Catholic community of faith, hope, and love, we invite others to join us in our goal of renewal—and welcome them into our fellowship.