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From the Pastor's Pen - May 31, 2020

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all our people who helped us start Public Masses again last weekend. To those who came: about 40 people at each of our 3 Masses, with full compliance to our safe practices of masks and distances. To those who stayed home, feeling it wasn’t the right time to come out yet. For the help with livestreaming, for those who watched and/or commented on the livestream link; for our staff who quickly organized the cleaning of the church after each Mass, by a regular staff person and by staff and volunteer teams. The weekend was a success by the view of those who came, and of those who watched.

I was tired Sunday night after this was all done. It’s been two months of trying to be clear and thorough, first about closing down Masses, an unheard-of thing for me and our people; to manage the questions since then, and then negotiate the Archbishop’s sudden permission of a starting date for Masses again with stringent conditions and supplies needed. While we are still not permitted to have any organizational or social gatherings over 10 people inside or outside, there shouldn’t be large further changes to the practices we have to do to have Mass.

Unless we backslide. Our practices now will last for months ahead of us, no doubt to the end of the year. We can say we’ve done it once now; our success as a parish will be judged by how safe we are with each other over that longer period. We all know the practices, but we’ve only done them for a week. I don’t want to keep repeating the necessary guidelines, but no doubt they’re still new to someone. So, pass this up if you’re in full compliance:

If you have an underlying medical condition that requires constant attention, don’t come yet. If you wake with or develop a fever over 99.0 (check before you come), your household needs to stay back. Affix your mask before entering the church and keep it on except for when you receive the host in your hand (I’m really not concerned with what you’ve heard happens in other parishes. Each pastor is told it’s our responsibility to enforce this without exception). Enter and exit the open doors without touching them. See that you’re in a pew 6 feet or more from others. Leave church without gathering with others inside, in your single or family group only, with proper distance from others.

A terrible backslide would be if new cases of Covid-19 develop in our parishioners, especially among our many vulnerable parishioners, and the exposure could be traced to church attendance. I’m devoted to doing our best to see that doesn’t happen.

Let’s ask the Spirit of Jesus this Pentecost Day to guide us and give New Life.

Fr. Tom


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