February 24, 2022

Dear St. Francis Family:

As you are likely aware, recent statements and actions by Governor Cooper, as well as Wake County and the City of Raleigh, have modified the status of mask mandates in our community. Our parish staff and our parish COVID Task Force have assisted me in evaluating these recommendations in order to implement protocols that continue to promote the health and safety of all on our campus while also allowing us to fully gather. Before identifying these updates, I would like to commend all in our community for not only your patience and forbearance, but also your commitment to the wellbeing of all. We have said since the beginning of the pandemic that our primary concern is the health and safety of all, particularly our most vulnerable, and we have lived by that commitment in a way that manifests the best of the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi.

A. The following updates to our protocols are effective this Saturday, February 26, 2022:

  1. The wearing of face coverings on campus is no longer required. However, we still encourage masks be worn, especially for the most vulnerable.
  2. The baptistery side of the church will be reserved for those who prefer to wear a mask when in the church and not be seated near those who are not wearing a mask. Only those wearing a mask will be admitted to this section of the church. We ask parishioners to maintain social distancing in this section as much as possible.
  3. Communicants are no longer obligated to wear a mask when receiving Holy Communion;
  4. Communicants are no longer obligated to have their hands sanitized when coming forward to receive Holy Communion. However, hospitality ministers will continue to offer hand sanitization for those who would desire this.

     B. All other current protocols remain in effect, including:

    1. The 9am Sunday Mass will continue to be livestreamed and the dispensation from Bishop Luís remains in place;
    2. Holy Communion will continue temporarily to be offered in the hand only, and no cup will be offered at this time;
    3. When greeting others, including the exchange of peace, please refrain from personal contact;
    4. Hand sanitization stations will continue to be available throughout the campus; and
    5. Holy Water will not be placed in the fonts.

    Vaccinations remain the single most effective tool in fighting COVID. We strongly encourage parishioners to receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and all recommended boosters as endorsed by Pope Francis and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    The leadership of The Franciscan School and the St. Francis Pre-School have sent communications in light of our protocols and those from other jurisdictions guiding them.  For details of their communications, please see their websites.

    I extend a special thank you to our parish Task Force for their dedication and commitment to keep us all safe. As the pandemic has not ended, they will remain active in monitoring cases and recommend any necessary updates to our protocols. Let us continue to pray that this two-year chapter of our lives will soon become a memory.

    Fr. Michael



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