A message from our Bishop, August 10, 2021

The Church of St. Luke The Church of St. Luke
Dear STL Family,
Ahhhh, August! I know this month is typically the hottest month of the year. But for me, it's a relief knowing I survived the first month on the hot seat as your Parish Life Director. What a blessing you have all been to me. I will hold all of you in my daily prayers!
To be honest with you, I was counting on a smooth transition when our Bishop lifted the dispensation regarding Mass attendance. As many of you are already aware, the lifting of wearing masks indoors was short-lived. After talking with several of you at Fr. Don's Welcome reception on Sunday, I'm not happy either with the direction we're taking AGAIN. But here's where we are now...
                                    Restrictions lifted, but caution prevails

                                        MASS OBLIGATION RESTORED
On Aug. 6, Bishop Robert W. McElroy sent the following message to the diocese’s priests, after consulting with the diocese’s Pastoral Council:

“We have all experienced the joy and blessings of not having to wear masks over these last few months. However, in the wake of the delta variant, we are asking pastors to recommend that parishioners, once again, wear their masks when inside parish buildings. Those who have been vaccinated are encouraged to wear their masks as an act of charity.

“Additionally, we ask pastors to continue to invite parishioners to be vaccinated.

“Let us continue to offer our prayers for those who have died by COVID-19 and for those who are currently affected by the delta variant.”

The COVID-19 rules currently observed in our diocese are:

   *  Masks are recommended at Mass and other indoor diocesan functions for everyone, regardless of vaccination status;
   *  All restrictions on capacity and spacing for worship have been lifted;
   *  All limitations on meetings and social activities have been lifted;
   *  Distribution of the Eucharist on the tongue is now allowed, although it will continue to be available in the hand. The reintroduction of the shared cup will be determined sometime in the future;
   *  The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass has ended. Some members will continue to be exempt, however;
   *  It is recommended that non-family members bringing the Eucharist to the sick be vaccinated.
   *  Children under the age of 14 in formation classes and students in Catholic schools will have to continue to wear masks because is there no vaccine yet available for the bulk of these youngsters.
My hope for us after reading the Bishop's message is that we, vaccinated or not, would find it in our hearts to be charitable to those in our pews who feel safer being around others who are masked as well.  As Fr. Don said, "I would rather wear a mask than risk another shutdown." 
I echo our Bishops' plea to continue to offer healing prayers at this time. God bless us all!
From my heart to yours,
Jane A.
Sent by Jane Alfano
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