January 11, 2021
Just recently I received a request from a parishioner asking me to institute a segregated seating section in the Parish Church for non-masked congregants at Mass.
I would refer you to this parish website further down where you will find a letter from me with regard to the latest decree from NYS government on masking. It contains our official Diocesan policy in this regard. It clearly indicates that it is not my or any other private citizen’s responsibility to enforce this regulation. I have instructed the Clergy and Extraordinary Ministers to sanitize their hands and wear masks for the distribution of Holy Communion for the time being, which is within my responsibility and authority as pastor.
For the rest, it is up to each of us to decide how we will live our lives in this extraordinary time. We might ask ourselves:
Am I especially vulnerable?
Even though I wear a mask, does the fact that someone at well more than six feet away is unmasked constitute a threat to my health?
Is my scratchy throat, runny nose, body aches, etc. my usual winter cold, or is it the latest variant of the Covid virus?
Shall I wear a mask indoors or not?
Should I do so just out of regard in charity for those whom we might regard as St. Paul termed our “weaker brethren”?
The questions can go on ad infinitum I suppose.
You can only answer them for yourself, and where applicable, your family.
I can tell you with charity and respect that if anyone feels that the current situation warrants one avoiding crowds in church, the Church’s law clearly holds one legitimately excused. This definitely also applies to those who are especially sick who can be said to have a duty to stay home for the duration of their illness.
There may even be the necessity if priests become sick to cancel or reschedule Masses and other normal pastoral or sacramental functions.
As always, let us pray for each other!