Pastor’s Letter for the November 29, 2020 bulletin
We begin a new church year calendar this weekend! Happy New Year!
This Pastor’s Letter was written on Monday, November 23rd and edited on …, several days before you’re probably reading this. I just watched the first half of Governor DeWine’s Monday press conference and update before writing this.
Like many of you I, too, have been hoping and hoping that we have started to hit the peak of this newest wave of the coronavirus situation. The statistics around hospitalizations, including ICU admissions and those requiring ventilators, have long been the key data I have been monitoring to understand the severity of this pandemic in Ohio. Hearing from the health care professionals about the issues now pressing on us in Ohio is definitely concerning.
I have been among the many people relieved that we hadn’t been hit as hard here in Ohio as other parts of the world and of the USA. I have been grateful that we live here in Guernsey County, so far away from where the COVID-19 concerns were so pressing. And I have only known a handful of people who had personal contact with the virus.
Now it seems clear that all of the various safe hygiene practices we have been doing have been preparing us for now. Now that the virus is actually in our midst is when we need to practice the fundamentals in order to limit being instruments of the virus’ spread.
I also realize that now is the time for pastoral care to be as accessible as possible, which includes Mass (and receiving Communion) and confession. That will be a primary goal for these next two or three months as the number of serious infections and treatments peak and then decrease locally. Since we now understand better who in our midst would be most vulnerable from the effects of the virus, that can help us to be wise about how we interact with each other. So, please do not be offended, for example, that when I am available for confession over these next couple of months that I will be even more concerned about being susceptible to contact with the virus.
I plan to be posting some “what if” instructions soon, at our parish website. These would be posted at that website’s “Corona Virus Updates” section. These instructions would include details about how access to the Sacraments for our spiritual well-being.
Finally, please watch for more details about the matching funds campaign for our twin parish in Haiti. There are two organizations involved: Food for the Poor and the Parish Twinning Program of America (PTPA). A donor from Taiwan has made a six-figure donation to Food for the Poor for Haiti for matching our fundraising efforts (and others’). We will give our donations through the PTPA organization who will send the matched funds to the parish in Caracol, Haiti. Another outreach through Food for the Poor to Haiti is a shipment of huge bags of rice. Our donations will help to direct some of that rice to Caracol. I will provide details as soon as I hear personally from our representative at PTPA.
May the Lord continue to bless us with joy and peace as disciples of Jesus and to help us to be always ready for the gift of eternal life in Heaven!