I hope that all of you are doing well. Unfortunately, we are seeing a spike in the number of people infected with the novel coronavirus throughout Kentucky. I encourage all of you to be as safe as possible. As you know, staying home, washing your hands regularly, wearing masks, and social distancing are the keys to trying to stop the spread of the disease, and keeping ourselves as safe as possible. Senior citizens and those with pre-existing health conditions should be especially careful in these matters.
Bishop Foys has extended the lifting of the obligation of Catholics in the Diocese of Covington to attend Mass on Sunday. If you are at high risk of infection, please take good care of yourself and stay home. It is not only your own health that is put at risk, but also that of your family members, who will need to care for you if you get sick. We are also seeing that the hospital ICUs are filling up and even if you are not afraid of getting sick, you certainly do not want to add to the burden of health care workers and the medical system.
Some people are choosing to not attend Mass on Sunday because of the number of people present but attend during the week because church is less crowded and it is easier to maintain safe distancing from others. I think that is a good compromise.
We continue to try to make Mother of God Church as safe a place for you to gather as possible. The church and restrooms are sanitized after every service. Masks are provided for those who forgot to bring them, and I am very appreciative of all of you for wearing them. Some parishes are getting real resistance to wearing masks, and we have not gotten any at MOG except for a few at the very beginning. Stations with hand sanitizer are around the church for your use.
In the Communion line, we are asking that everyone keep a 6-foot distance from the person in front of you. You don’t want to be breathing down the neck of someone else, or having someone breathing down your own neck. We can be supportive of one another and help keep each other safe by this simple consideration.
Although I am very concerned about seniors who should be staying at home, I have another concern as well. There are young families who are not seriously at risk, who are staying away from Mass when it is not necessary. My concern is what that says. Is our absence because we are concerned to be safe, or are we taking advantage of the present situation to not take our relationship with God as seriously as we ought? What message do we send to our children if we do not attend Mass if we can?
There is no moral obligation to attend Mass at this point, so there is no sin if you choose not to do so. But, if you choose not to attend Mass, I do think that it is very important that you and your family, especially children, watch the Mass online and perhaps, pray the rosary or some other prayer together. We offer the Mass live, and it is then available on the parish website and on FaceBook to watch at any time. The fact that we may not feel safe to attend Mass should be experienced as a great cause of grief and not for casually neglecting our relationship with God. Every week that we do not receive Communion deprives our souls of the Bread of Life, the Body of Jesus Christ. That is not a minor matter.
Let us pray for a cure and for a vaccine that will allow us to put this pandemic behind us. It will be so wonderful when all of this is over. But until it is over, let us maintain our vigilance.
–Fr. Mike Comer