June 28, 2020

As we move into summer we also move into expanded capacity for our Masses indoors. Last week the Governor’s Office approved expanded capacity to 25% of the church’s capacity or 200 people, whichever is less. This is great news for us and allows us to have all of our Masses in the sacred space of the church.

For that reason, we have discontinued our outdoor Masses and are excited to welcome everyone who would like to worship, into our church. Our numbers for Masses have been fairly low so far, which is consistent with what we are seeing in other parts of the country that have re-opened for Mass. So, we have removed the request that people only sign up for Sunday Mass once per month, or twice per week for daily Mass. At this point, we have capacity to accommodate those who are feeling safe enough to come to Mass.

We still ask that you register beforehand, either through our website or by calling our special number at the office (360-823-2843). All of the other protocols to keep us safe are still in place: wearing face coverings while on campus, keeping a physical distance between those from different households, and sanitizing the church after each Mass.

The response to the re-opening of Masses has been welcomed by many of our parishioners, but we are also grateful for those who are still staying home and staying safe. Especially for those who are older or who have underlying health issues, this is still a time of vulnerability. That is why the Archbishop has extended the dispensation from the obligation to celebrate Sunday Mass. We do not want those who feel they are at risk to think that they have to come to church for Mass.

We look forward to that day when the risk from this virus is greatly reduced and we can all gather again in the church to worship the Lord. Until then, we will continue to livestream the Sunday 9:00 am Mass. It is quite possible that we will also continue to livestream even after we are all back worshipping in the church. We have reached folks who are not able to come to Mass even in the best of times, so this has been a real gift to many of our homebound parishioners.

We have also been able to open up certain areas of our campus and plan for some future events this summer. If you have been able to come to the campus for Mass, you have seen what a wonderful job our facilities crew has done in keeping our parish campus looking so beautiful. They are now moving into some of the indoor maintenance that the summer months allow the time and space to accomplish.

We have begun some regular confession times again. I will be available for confession in the church on Tuesday evenings from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and Thursday mornings from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. And, as always, you can call and make an appointment with me for confession if those times don’t work for you.

The Parish Office remains closed during this Phase of the reopening. Our staff continues to work and if you call the office and leave a message, your call will be returned in a timely way. You can also still reach me directly at 360-823-2856.

We are also very excited to welcome SHARE of Vancouver to our campus this summer. SHARE is using our kitchen in the Parish Hall to prepare their summer meals for children in our community who would otherwise go hungry during the summer when school is closed. I encourage you to go to SHARE’s Facebook page and see the wonderful video they have posted explaining the summer meal program and how you can volunteer.

So, even in the midst of the pandemic and our gradual reopening, there are signs of great things happening in our parish. You continue to be the source of great joy for me. Your faithfulness, your stewardship, and the wonderful notes you have written to me and to our staff are incredible signs of support. Thank you so much!

Peace,
Fr. Gary Lazzeroni