Seeing a surprising and relative growth in the number of COVID-19 cases here in Guernsey County over this past week reinforces at least a couple of things for me. I am truly grateful for the generosity of parishioners for the various items that are helping us to have a clean church environment, namely masks and disinfecting wipes. And, I know it is inconvenient and perhaps a symbol of being overly cautious for a number of folks, but I do appreciate all who wear masks or other mouth and nose coverings while inside our church buildings. I realize having 11 new cases in 5 days doesn’t compare as ominously as in most other counties, even with a couple of neighboring counties. Nevertheless, may the Lord help us to do our best to be a community of faith where we can gather for prayer and ministry opportunities safely and without fears.
Thank you for your prayers for next week’s First Communion Mass on Sunday afternoon, July 12th at 2:00 p.m. May the Lord abundantly bless our young parishioners who will be experiencing that gift of being profoundly nourished by God.
In light of scheduling the First Communion Mass for next Sunday afternoon, please note that our Bereavement Haven support group will meet on the following Sunday, July 19th. That group has been meeting on the second Sunday afternoon of each month for several years and will plan to continue to do so. That group has been discussing a very effective book recently, Finding a Loving God in the Midst of Grief, reading and reflecting on a chapter-at-a-time. Other very helpful resources have included another book called, The ABCs of Healthy Grieving. Sharing resources like these as well as simply enjoying the time of fellowship have helped this group to be impactful. Please continue to keep them in prayer and all who are grieving the loss of a loved one and who are in the midst of a challenging time of transition.
Over this past month we experienced our Mass attendance to be between 50 – 60% of our pre-COVID numbers. 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 am weighing when to include a brief message at upcoming Sunday Masses (another aspect of being back to normal, right?!) 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 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!