Now that we’ve hit the 90-case mark here in Guernsey County, I would especially value your feedback about how we are doing as a parish with keeping our buildings and church campuses sanitized and with clean air. It is likewise encouraging to see that at least 68 of those local cases are now “Presumed Recovered,” leaving us with “only” 22 active cases. Nevertheless, we want our parish gatherings to remain places where all who participate can do so trusting that they will be safe and clean.
I had just written much in this letter about the importance of wearing masks just before Governor DeWine mandated masks statewide! We will continue to have additional masks available at the doors of our churches as well as hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. We are securing the usage of a disinfectant sprayer for easier sanitizing of rooms and larger spaces as well.
Regarding maintaining the doors of the churches open during Mass or prayer times, after reading through the directives more closely again and from considering the practices of other parish communities, the emphasis is more about doing so to bring in clean air. I had understood it as being as much about people not needing to touch the door handles as about drawing in fresh air. But, I see that airing out the rooms and churches is more of the focus.
Again, if you have other observations and suggestions, please let me know; we will review them. The suggestion box in the St. Benedict Church vestibule is a good place for them. One recent suggestion provided suggestions about masks and seating sections, but, again, we now have the statewide mask mandate. Thank you for your suggestions.
Our Mass attendance over these past couple of weeks both grew to a new peak and then retreated a little last week. Effectively we have been between 50 – 60% of our pre-COVID numbers. Likewise, as mentioned before, if we hadn’t had the restrictions about public Mass attendance, we would have had the annual in-church presentation about our annual DPSC (Diocesan/Parish Share Campaign) goal. That has become much more of a remote campaign this year. If you have participated in the past, you should have received at least one or two direct mailings about participating this year. I hope to include a brief message at upcoming Sunday Masses in another couple of weeks, depending upon attendance trends, as well as something more detailed in the bulletin. Either way, thank you very much for your participation in this annual campaign. And, we will have DPSC envelopes and brochures available to be picked up at both of our church buildings and our parish offices.
May the Lord keep us protected and healthy and, as always, well prepared for the gift of eternal life!