Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Greetings to all. This is an update on our Parish response to the State’s edicts regarding Covid-19.
On a positive note, infection rates are about what we would find in an influenza outbreak, deaths are a tenth of what they were at the peak of the crisis, and the death rate for the general population is about the same now as for the flu during a bad year. Some particularly effective palliative drugs have been identified, especially when taken when a patient is first symptomatic, and it appears a vaccine has begun clinical trials.
Risk factors have been identified and are well known, so those in high risk categories can take extra precautions to reduce the chance of infection.
The State of Colorado has extended a mandatory mask requirement state-wide that is more restrictive than most cities have established. I suspect that, as has been the case in other executive orders, some clarifications and changes may be issued as the practicalities are explored - for instance, a strict interpretation of the order would require one to wear a mask when alone in a private bathroom. Common sense would surely prevail!
The effect for Saint Mary’s are as follows:
- Masks need not be worn outside as long as social distances can be maintained.
- When entering the building or moving about within the building masks should be worn.
- Masks are not required when receiving communion, and as masks are not required in restaurants when one is seated, my assumption is that once seated in the Nave, properly distanced from others, masks would not be necessary (see above regarding a need for clarifications).
- Those officiating the Mass are not required to wear a mask, nor any who are publicly speaking. Some may voluntarily choose to wear a mask until such time as the Epistle is read, for example, but it is not required. I believe this also means the Cantor is not required to wear a mask, but may choose to do so until he chants. Masks will not be required in the Sacristy.
- Masks are not required for children under 10 years of age, or for adults who have medical issues that would prevent the wearing of a mask.
- Masks are not required when exercising, but I’m not convinced genuflecting is considered exercise.
Otherwise, our standard practices will continue. If you are sick, stay home. If you aren’t comfortable being in crowds, stay home. Maintain social distancing when choosing your seat and at the communion rail. The doors to the church will be propped open so that there is minimal contact with surfaces. Surfaces are disinfected between masses. We will greet people following the Mass outside the front doors, so that the Narthex is not crowded and we are in the open. If you stay for coffee, spread out in Founder’s Hall or, weather permitting, out in the yard.
See you in church!
Yours in Christ,