We are now in what the diocese is calling phase 1B in the phasing out of the covid restrictions. The list of the reductions of restrictions are on the diocesan website and is provided below for your convenience. Our Church is rated for occupancy for 321 people by national fire code. Since we can now have 75% capacity this means that at present we can have a gathering of 240 people, so from our Mass counts we could move back to the Church and be in compliance. One thing that is not pointed out in the list below is that when physical distancing can be maintained between households or cohorts, if you will, then masks may be removed when we have gotten to our places, then put back on when we need to move around and to receive communion. I know that many of you are very anxious to have our Sunday celebrations back in Church where they ordinarily belong, as am I! However many of us are just as anxious to wear masks as little as possible. Some of us want to never wear one again, and some of us have only worn them when we absolutely had too. I know this by what many people have shared with me but also I know this from my own eyes. I see many people openly flaunting the bishop’s mask mandate at our Masses. I realize that at this point I am the only person in our parish who has knelt before the bishop of Cheyenne and promised to obey him and his successors, but all catholics are called to obey their bishop, even when we do not fully agree with his decisions. Only when our fully formed and informed conscience tells us that his instruction would cause us to sin are we allowed to obey our conscience over the instruction of the bishop. I find it hard to believe that wearing a mask to protect yourself and others is in anyway sinful. It seems to me that dismissing the recommendations of health experts during a pandemic as unnecessary, hypocritical or impinging on your freedom is sinful. We must remember that the true freedom that comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is not license to just choose to do whatever we want. When we choose to do bad things through our freedom of choice, we betray our true freedom.
So, as eager as I am to resume celebrating all of our Masses in our beautiful Church, I want to be prudent as we do so. I have been told by local health care professionals that there has been an uptick in our cases in Fremont County. The last thing I want to do is move back to the Church and then have to move back to the gym because another wave of viral infection causes increased restrictions. It is my hope that by Pentecost, or before that we can prudently resume our Sunday worship in our wonderful Church. Let us all pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us through this stressful time!
Churches may be at 75 percent capacity, not to exceed 500 persons.
Face masks are still required for those three-years-old and older.
Social distancing for any gathering is no longer required.
Baskets with handles may be used by ushers to take up the collection.
Holy Water may be used.
Traditional entrance and recessional processions may take place.
The offertory procession may be done, provided wine and host