On May 8, Archbishop Carlson announced that public Masses may resume beginning Monday, May 18th. It is up to the individual pastors whether or not to reinstate them. I have chosen to go ahead and begin.
That being said, let me be as straightforward as possible: the health and welfare of the parishion-ers of Holy Redeemer is utmost in my mind and heart. In other words, it cannot, and will not, be business as usual. There will be some rules and regulations for folks to abide. This is not, as some have suggested, a violation of civil rights. That is utter nonsense. There are rules and regulations on our roads to keep people safe. For instance, you cannot drive on the left side of the road, just because “that’s how they do it in other countries.” I see the sensible rules we will put in place as no different. We are applying the best available scientific and medical information that we have at this time in order to keep people safe. Will it be 100% effective? 100%? Probably not, nothing in life is. The drive to church isn’t 100% safe either. But we will do our utmost to keep people healthy.
That being said, if you do not feel comfortable coming, that is fine. We will still be live-streaming Mass at 9 am on Sunday even after we start public Masses. If you are a member of a group that may be immuno-compromised, especially if you are 70 or older, I would encourage you to stay and continue worshipping at home.
I like to keep things simple. Here are two very simple mindsets to get into. First, act as if you are highly contagious. You might well be. The difficulty with the Covid-19 virus is that many people who are contagious are asymptomatic, that is they are not coughing, sneezing, running a fever. In fact, they may feel nothing at all. Covid-19 is a sneaky little bugger, isn’t it? Second, be aware. Be aware of what you are touching (keep washing your hands whenever you get home with soap and wa-ter), try not to touch your face and be aware of your surroundings. Masks should be worn at the times when you have to have some interaction with others, but they are not perfect. As many anti-maskers will tell you, a mask will not protect you from a tiny virus. That’s true, but…they will keep you from lob-bing large globules and from taking in large globules, which will dramatically cut down the amount of the virus you might take into your system. Be aware of your social distancing. Wash your hands be-fore you come to church. Wash your hands when you get home from church. You may want to bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you.
Social distancing, not touching your face and washing your hands regularly have proven to be the most effective ways of slowing the spread of this disease. So we want to keep that up. However, I am beginning to feel that people need to get out. We need to balance these two things wisely. Next week, we will have more of the particulars. Until then, remember our two mindsets:
1. I have to act as if I was highly contagious.
2. I am aware of my situation and the people and things around me.