Dear St. Mark’s Parishioners,
I write this message to you about the “coronavirus” carefully as, on one hand, I do not wish to lend to any sense of fear, while on the other hand I want to be prudent in helping to protect your health.
As most of you are aware, the “coronavirus” is very communicable; when it spreads, it infects large portions of a community quickly. Another significant concern is the virus’ impact on the health of vulnerable people, such as the elderly and those whose immune system is compromised.
After praying, seeking input from our parish staff and receiving allowance from our Bishop, I write this letter to convey the following preventative measures that are effective immediately at St Mark’s.
•Refrain from holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer;
• Refrain from shaking hands during the exchange of peace in Mass (please feel free to make a peaceful gesture to those around you in the pew)
• Suspend distribution of the Precious Blood;
• Empty the Holy Water fonts
On the individual level, I ask that each of us practice good hygiene. Wash your hands prior to coming to Mass. Use hand sanitizer while at the parish. Cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm. Perhaps most importantly, there is no Sunday obligation to attend Mass if you are ill. Therefore please stay at home if you are sick.
Finally, I call on all of us to continue to pray for each other, especially the sick and continue to serve one another. We are a community of faithful Catholics who love each other because we love Jesus; we are transformed by His love to be that love to one another! Let us take care of one another, encourage each other, and minister to all.
Your servant in Christ,