I hope these days of summer have been relaxing and fruitful for all of you. It's difficult to believe that one year has already passed since my arrival as pastor last August. Thank you for your spiritual and financial support during a very challenging year with COVID-19. Unfortunately, the pandemic is still with us.
As you may know, Mayor Allen Joines instituted a city-wide face covering requirement effective August 20, 2021 at 5:30 PM. While houses of worship are exempt, I am going to temporarily reinstate mandatory mask wearing at two weekend Masses. Beginning August 21/22, face masks will be required at the 5:30 PM Vigil Mass and the 12:00 noon Mass. In addition, the choir and congregational singing will temporarily be suspended at all Masses. The sign of peace continues to be suspended, per the Diocese of Charlotte instruction.
I am aware and respectful of the fact that parishioners have sincere and sharply divided positions regarding the wearing of masks. This places me in a very difficult pastoral position of desiring to minister to everyone in our parish family, while also protecting the most vulnerable among us. Please know that I am fully committed to the physical and spiritual well-being of all parishioners and hope everyone feels comfortable attending Holy Mass in our small church.
While recognizing my limitations in imposing mandates, I appeal to everyone's charity and good will toward your fellow parishioners. Families are trying to navigate returning to normalcy within the boundaries set for them by the virus. Our common goal must be to encourage everyone to resume the practice of their faith and the reception of the Sacraments.
Thank you for your cooperation, patience and flexibility in the midst of ever-changing circumstances and expectations.
Please join me in praying for an end to COVID-19. May the Lord grant us a safe and healthy year ahead.
Fr C Gober