We continue the conversation within the parish in consultation with various Task Forces comprised of medical professionals and other personnel on how to reopen the two schools and the church slowly but surely. With the newest directive from the Governor’s Office, we will start allowing our school children to be outdoors without masks for recess beginning Monday, May 3. They will still remain in their cohorts for the time being. Beginning this weekend, we will eliminate the spraying of hands after people receive Holy Communion. We will also allow people to remove facemasks once they are on the parking lot of the church after Mass provided social distancing is maintained.
We will continue to ask that masks be worn when arriving to and leaving from the church and when walking along the walkways leading to/from the church because of the concentration of people in a fairly enclosed area. Beginning Monday, we will no longer require those coming to daily Mass to sign in as part of the entrance process to the church. We need to continue online registration and check-in for weekend Masses for the time being due to the cap we are retaining for those Masses.
We are also looking at resuming daily Mass outdoors in the Memorial Garden as soon as the pollen season has concluded and as long as the temperature remains reasonable. We will be offering some limited opportunities for youth to gather for activities this summer, both on our campus and beyond. Those details are still being worked out. Watch for updates on our parish website and in the bulletin.
Unfortunately, the Community Center will be closed this summer due to maintenance work that needs to be done to the boiler/chiller system that impacts water and climate control in that building. The Parish Reopening Committee continues to work on a master plan for reopening and is working to have things in place by the time the next phase of changes in NC occurs around June 1. We are encouraged that things are continuing to move in the right direction so we may reopen and regather in the coming months.
The cumulative stress of the pandemic has worn us all down. St. Francis is offering some virtual sessions in May as part of Mental Health month to provide some tools and resources to support us as we slowly-but-surely move back to a more normal life. I encourage you to check these opportunities out and sign up for a session or two. Details are in the bulletin