NEW BRITAIN - Sacred Heart Parish celebrated the sacrament of First Holy Communion Sunday, with covid-19 regulations implemented.
On Saturday, the 2020 Confirmation Class completed its Holy Sacrament as well.
Both groups of youngsters were joined by their parents and siblings inside the church. Because the parish was required to limit attendance and elders are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, grandparents were asked to stay home and watch the masses streaming live on Sacred Heart’s Facebook page.
“I thank you for being here and supporting all these wonderful children,” Msgr. Daniel Plocharczyk said during Sunday’s First Holy Communion Mass. “I also thank you for being understanding.”
For as long as anyone can remember, Sacred Heart was completely packed during First Communion mass, with people filtering into the church’s large parking lot to be a part of their loved one’s special day. This year the circumstances required parish staff to restrict the number of people in attendance by half. Everyone wore masks, including the children receiving the holy sacrament.
The pastor told families how officials with the City of New Britain had reached out to him earlier in the week to ensure the parish would be following pandemic restrictions.
“Just so you know how serious they were about this,” Plocharczyk said. “Unfortunately, there are certain laws we have to abide by…it was not my decision to make.”
Every other row of pews was sectioned off so keep people six or more feet apart during mass. Children stood from where they were seated to recite their Communion creed with the pastor. They approached the altar one row at a time to receive the Body of Christ in-hand, removing their masks for a moment to place it in their mouths.
“I’m very excited for the children, that they were still able to do this,” Newington resident Julia Perlmutter said.
Her daughter Olivia, 8, wore a white gown and veil along with the other girls in her class, following Catholic tradition. The boys wore suits and ties.
After the mass, the group of 50 children removed their masks for just a few moments to pose for a photograph with the pastor and their Communion teachers.
Many families were very upset that grandparents could not take part. One couple, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Herald that the whole situation was “very disappointing.”
“Everything was different this year,” said Agnes Krukowski, another parent. “They couldn’t do all the readings and they couldn’t have grandparents here.”
Her daughters Agata and Natalia both received their First Communion. The family’s elders waited outside the church for them, not participating in the mass.
“We asked the grandparents to come after just to take pictures,” said Roman Sznaj, father of Mya Sznaj.
“It’s different but I’m glad they were still able to have it,” the New Britain resident added. “I graduated from Sacred Heart School and the same pastor baptized me here 40 years ago, so that was really special for us. Given the circumstances today, I think they did the best they could.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org