Dear St James parishioners,
We are currently facing some challenges as a nation, but also as a parish community. One challenge is the mandate from county health officials, recently updated due to the rapid increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations, that we all wear masks when we come in close contact with each other, especially indoors.
At St James, we have tried to follow the guidelines while being aware that there would naturally be resistance to any stricture that was not seen as absolutely necessary or explicitly required. As time has passed and scientists have learned more about how this virus is transmitted and how it affects our more vulnerable parishioners, removing face masks while seated is no longer something that in good conscience we can continue to support as “safe enough” to keep parishioners healthy. While we absolutely honor each person’s ability to make decisions for themselves, we, as followers of Jesus Christ, must always hold in high regard the concerns of the weaker among us. The virus has proven to be highly contagious and quickly transmitted via airborne particles/droplets.
With this knowledge, we cannot in good conscience defend the removal of face masks inside our buildings. We would ask that while you are in the pews, you keep your mask on as a sign of your respect and care for those around you. This also applies to any time spent in prayer in our chapel for Adoration on Thursdays. We are challenged to offer up the momentary discomfort as a small penance and a way to show God’s love to all whom we encounter.