This summer as we continue as a nation, a church, and as families to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic I would like to offer some basic advice and reassurance.

We are all coming to the realization that this disease may be with us for some time. Therefore, we are learning to deal with it much as we do with driving a car. We know when we get into a car that it could be a dangerous thing to do. So, we put on our seat belts. We put our kids in car seats. We stop at red lights, use our turn signals and obey the speed limit (or at least we mean to!) We do this for our own safety and for the safety of everyone else.

All of us decide the best ways to stay safe and we also make those decisions for the sake of other road users. It’s the same with COVID-19. There is a real risk. We all take common sense safety measures to stay healthy, avoid risky behaviors and be considerate of others—respecting the fact that they may have more concerns and fears than you do for all sorts of reasons. They may well be more vulnerable or have loved ones who are more likely to become seriously ill if infected.

Should you come to church? We have decided that the same regulations will stay in place through August. This means only 100 people at Mass and it is necessary to sign up for weekend Masses. The Mass obligation continues to be suspended, but the suspension of the Mass obligation should not be interpreted as “Catholics don’t need to come to Mass anymore.” You should come to Mass to receive the Lord, and surely prayer at this time is more important than ever!

Therefore, although you don’t need to come to Mass to fulfill an obligation, you need to come to Mass for your own spiritual welfare. So, unless your health is seriously compromised or you are burdened by great anxiety you should attend Mass. We have plenty of security measures in place. Think of it this way: If you can go to the supermarket for food or the pharmacy for meds you should also be able to come to Mass for the Bread of Life and the healing sacraments!

If you feel vulnerable please come to a weekday Mass. The Monday morning Mass at 8:30 and the Thursday morning Mass at 10:00 are sparsely attended and you will have plenty of space between yourselves and other people. If you would like even more isolation you may use the cry room or sit on your own in the transept. Also remember that the you can gain access to both the Upper and Lower Church for private prayer. Contact Beth Jones if you need the code for access.

Finally, I have good news about our school. Last month I announced plans for a new initiative to find full funding for five boys in 1-3 grade who would attend our school and help form a boys’ choir. I had a good and generous response from our parishioners and I am now in the process of finding those five families.

You may have heard that Governor McMasters has announced a significant government grant to lower to middle income families to help pay for private school tuition. This gives our families more choice. Furthermore, our school is able to open fully because we have large classrooms and small class size. If you want your kids to benefit from our Classical Catholic education, then be in touch with the school office because places are filling fast for next year. Remember also that OLR School is now enrolling students up through tenth grade as we move to a full K-12 classical curriculum. Not only should your children be at OLR School if you are parish members, but you should spread the good news.

During this time please remember to be safe and stay in touch by phone, text and email with those you know of who are isolated alone and in need of help, and if you know others who need assistance be sure to be in touch with the parish office so we can follow through.

Your pastor,
Fr. Longenecker