Dear Friends in Christ,
A few weeks ago, we had a series of severe thunderstorms come through in the middle of the night. Besides the loud claps of thunder there was also quite a bit of lightning. Our campus was struck by some of this lightning which did quite a number on our facilities. Many of our electrical systems were fried. The HVAC, microphones, computers, telephones, fire alarms, irrigation, church bells, lighting and almost everything else electrical were all damaged. We have had repair crews out constantly since that time making repairs and replacing components and wiring that were damaged. Some systems and controls were able to be repaired within a day or two, while other systems and components remain inoperable. This has had impact on different aspects of our parish’s functionality. We are hopeful that most everything will be in working order in the next week or two.
Just in case that was not enough, on June 24, Harris County issued an advisory concerning the current COVID-19 crisis. That was followed by a directive from the archdiocese urging parishes in Harris County to adhere to the Stay Home/Stay Safe Advisory. Accordingly, we closed our parish offices and sent our non-essential staff to work from home. Fortunately for us, this came during our normal summer break from activities and many of our staff were already scheduled to be off. Our offices remain closed and I have no idea when the advisory will be lifted. Additionally, Governor Abbott issued and an executive order for mandatory face masks in all public spaces. We are asking all Mass goers to wear their face coverings. So much for a laid back summer.
In light of the current health crisis, we are re-evaluating our plans for the fall. All of our departments have been working to re-open and resume our pastoral programs and ministries as well as making contingency plans. As this situation continues, it has become clear that there are going to be a number of changes to our fall calendar. Because of so many uncertainties, I asked our staff and the Pastoral and Finance Councils for their best evaluation and advice. Almost unanimously, I was advised that it would not be prudent to proceed with plans for our Annual Parish Bazaar. Because of the current shutdown, the ongoing health issues, so many uncertainties and the tremendous anxiety among so many, it is been decided that it is best for us out of an abundance of caution not to proceed with the bazaar for this year. We looked at the possibility of re-scheduling the bazaar but that is not feasible.
This is indeed sad. The bazaar is the largest single event when our parishioners all to come together. It involves more than 1400 volunteers and thousands of parishioners and guests who come to enjoy the fun of the bazaar. Unfortunately, the conditions are not right at this time. Because it takes months of planning and preparation which we have not been able to commit to or initiate, there will not be enough time for us to adequately prepare for a successful and safe event. While the primary purpose of the bazaar is to gather and celebrate our parish community, it also serves as a means of raising funds for our charitable endeavors.
Last year, we raised over $300,000 for our SJV Charities. All of our net proceeds are given away in grants to help others throughout our city. Cancelling the bazaar is going to have impact on those in need who rely on our help. We are now exploring how we might achieve the goals of the bazaar through other means. We have no definitive plans at this time. Please pray that we may discern what to do and that whatever path we take that God will bless our parish so that we may continue to move forward in our mission of Living Faith, Changing Lives and Making a Difference.
In pace Christi,