I hope that this e-mail finds you well in the midst of all of the uproar around us. I remind myself, and I remind you, that Jesus is our rock, as the psalms put it.
I have two things to pass on to you, both related to the liturgy. First, I have decided to end the live-streaming of Mass on Sunday. At first I continued it in order to serve those who might still be staying away from Mass out of caution. The on-line watchers, however, have dropped each week, until last Sunday there were ten people watching the live stream. It is not that ten people aren't important, but here is my reasoning:
1) We are borrowing equipment now, but the person from whom we are borrowing it needs it; we will have to buy some equipment;
2) There is no way of knowing if those ten people are even parishioners. In fact, I know of two people, not parishioners, who told me they watched our Mass. So I might be live-streaming for non-parishioners, for all I know;
3) I know seeing one's own pastor and church and fellow-parishioners is important, but there are multiple venues to watch Sunday Mass.
The second thing I would like to mention has to do with seating. I have noticed that we are using more of the church with each week, especially at the 9:00 a.m. Mass. This is not because the attendance has been significantly larger, but because of the way people are seated. If you remember, I have asked ushers to seat people, not let people choose their seats. I am not trying to be a tyrant, but someone has to disinfect any pew that is used. I am trying to make less work for the people who volunteer to clean. I see single people sitting in the back pews, which forces others forward. Please, I am asking the ushers to seat singles and couples and the smaller numbers to the front, saving the back pews for larger families. I am asking you not to sit in your favorite back pew by yourself or your spouse, but to follow the ushers' directions and sit up front. Ushers, I am asking you to be proactive and seat everyone. We came up with what I think is a good system, let's use it. You parishioners, please cooperate with them.
Thank you. I am trying to call people or send notes. If you know someone who could use a phone call from me or a note to cheer them up, please let me know. I don't want anyone to feel disconnected.
God bless you. Please know that I love you.