Dear Friends in Christ:
At long last, Cardinal DiNardo has announced the relaxing of the COVID restrictions for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. This has been a struggle for everyone, and we are all pleased to have reached this point. As we move forward, we must first and foremost give our thanks and praise to God for the graces each of us have received during this time. Likewise, we should continue to pray for those around the world who are struggling with this pandemic and all other maladies. To say that there will be lingering effects from this pandemic is a significant understatement. As a society and as a church (universal and particular), we will be dealing with this for many years to come. Some of the long-term effects of the pandemic (health, economic, societal, emotional, and spiritual) will not manifest themselves until the future. Two examples are the loss of life and how that will impact families of those who died and the trillions of dollars in costs due to the shut down and the recovery payments. Though necessary and in many ways beneficial, that money/debt is going to impact future generations. Any notion that we can just pick up where we left off in February 2020 without any lingering impact is seriously deficient. Yet, we must begin to pick up the pieces and move forward.
As we learned from dealing with Hurricane Harvey and the floods, we cannot stay still and expect things to automatically fix themselves. Rebuilding takes work. One of the other lessons from past tragedies is that it is important to have a vision and a plan. Here at St. John Vianney, we have had a plan for dealing with the pandemic and we have been developing a plan of recovery as well. Although Cardinal DiNardo has removed most of the restrictions, that does not mean recovery is going to be immediate. It is going to take time and effort. I would like to share some of the highlights of where we are at, what our goals are and an outline for our recovery plan here at SJV.
We are returning to the normal celebration of the Eucharist including seating at 100% capacity, optional mask usage, communion on the tongue for those who so desire and return of the offertory collection and procession. Additionally, we may now have gatherings without restriction (including dinning and refreshments).
To continue our evangelical outreach to all of those in our area. We aim to welcome all people to join us here at St. John Vianney in knowing, loving and serving God through the beauty of our Catholic Faith. We especially want to extend an invitation and welcome those who do not know Christ, Christians who do not have a church home, those Catholics who have fallen away from the practice of the faith and to those parishioners who have been away due to the pandemic. In particular we will be reaching out to families and individuals who are new to the parish and to the area. One other important goal is to re-engage our parishioners and increase the level of participation in the life and activities (spiritual, formational, social, and charitable) of our parish community.
Our Plan and Timeline
We do not intend to try and start up everything at 100%. Rather, we will take a phased approach. Phase 1 will be this summer. We are re-opening according to the archdiocesan protocols as stated above. During the summer, we will be concentrating on our Youth Programs and summer activities for families. We will offer our Thanksgiving at ALL MASSES on the SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI and with our outdoor Eucharistic Procession after the 5:30 pm Mass on June 6.
Phase 2 will be in three parts. First, we will have our first full parish-wide liturgical and social celebrations to coincide with the Feast of St. John Vianney on August 4. Second, we will have a special outreach and welcoming to families with children later in September to coincide with the beginning of the school year. Third, we will host our Annual Parish Bazaar! This will be our chance to welcome all of our parishioners, friends, and neighbors back to SJV for a fun day and celebrate being together.
Phase 3 will continue through the Fall, Winter and Spring. We will slowly resume our ministries and activities, as well as some new and special events. Emphasis will be focused on re-engaging, re-connecting and integrating parishioners back into our life of Living Faith, Changing Lives and Making a Difference.
In pace Christi,