FROM OUR PASTOR

Mar 13, 2020

FROM OUR PASTOR
There has been a lot of talk about the COVID 19 Virus.  I worry that we let hysteria get the better of us.  For sure we need to be attentive.  But one of the things health officials are saying about this infection is that it is exacerbated by stress and weakened health.  So let’s start with getting rest and being attentive to some basic precautions: 
1. If you have a cold/flu or do not feel well, you are exempt from coming to Mass.  Often people feel like they are sinning if they miss Mass when they are sick. But that is not the official position of the Church.  Actually, you could view remaining at home rather than bringing your illness to the church as an act of charity.  If you do remain at home, try to make a spiritual communion through prayer and watching the Mass on TV or Online. 
2. Use the hand sanitizer we have at the entrance of the church or wash your hands in the bathroom when you come to Mass.  Cough and sneeze into your elbow/sleeve rather than your hands.  Most germs are passed on through airborne aerosolization or poor hand hygiene. 
3. During these winter months some people choose to make the sign of peace through a wave or a bow rather than shaking hands. It is sometimes awkward to adjust, but a courteous wave back is a friendly response.  Another option is to do a fist pump rather than shaking hands.  Deacon Jim has been calling it the ‘Corona Bump’.  These are valid options for the Sign of Peace as well as saying goodbye to the priest/deacon at the doors of the Church.  We want to balance respect with courtesy and attention to healthy habits. 
4. Remain still if you are going to receive on the tongue.  Often the person distributing communion gets licked when they go to place the Eucharist on the communicant’s tongue.  It is a holy and valid option to receive on the tongue, but to do so, simply extend your tongue a little bit and let the Minister of the Eucharist place Jesus on it.  In this cold & flu season you may also consider receiving on the hands instead. 
I hope you know that as a parish we are striving to remain health conscious.  We have removed the holy water from the fonts.  This is something we usually do during Holy Week but since there has been such serious concern we started early to avoid passing on germs.  Eucharistic Ministers wash their hands when they arrive at Church and will be “gelling in” when they come up to distribute communion. 
We are New Englanders and this is not our first cold and flu season.  Let’s be wise.  We are Catholics and I do love the statue of St. Rocco at our church in lee.  It was put in place due to the great flu epidemic of 1919.  Let us be attentive, respectful and pious in our celebrations ahead.  May God bless us all with health, kindness and holiness! 
              Pax. Fr. b.