Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases throughout our country (and Kentucky and our diocese), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is making recommendations that would impact all in-person meetings held indoors in our parishes (e.g. weekday and Sunday liturgies, youth events, parish meetings, religious education, RCIA groups, parish social events, etc…). Please note that these are currently recommendations and not mandates.
The new wave of Covid is the Delta variant, which is 1,000 times more transmittable. The data suggests it poses little threat to the vaccinated or to young children. However, there are important reasons we want to support CDC recommendations when possible:
- The new wave has the potential to overwhelm our health care facilities again.
- This Delta variance carries a more powerful load and is a greater threat to our health
- That those who are unvaccinated and over the age of two wear a face covering over their mouth and nose. Those who have been fully vaccinated may remain unmasked if they so choose for now;
- That all those who are eligible for a vaccine (12 years of age and older) become vaccinated. Vaccinated, symptom-free individuals will not be required to quarantine in the event of a positive contact;
- That gathering spaces (churches, meeting rooms, etc.) continue to be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
- That all continue with proper handwashing and/or hand sanitizing;
- that those who feel ill or are concerned about exposure to the COVID-19 virus be encouraged to remain at home.
As of today, most Catholic schools in our diocese plan to open this fall with masks being optional. However, it is up to the individual schools to decide how to implement their respective mask requirements. And again, WE ARE IN THE BEGINNING STAGES OF THE WAVE, SO THIS CAN CHANGE QUICKLY.
As usual, these requested guidelines are subject to change at a moment’s notice and could even become mandated through an Executive Order from the Governor’s office. As changes occur, updated information will be provided.
I would also encourage all of us to read the hope-filled message from Pope Francis in his book, “Let Us Dream, The Path to a Better Future.” He challenges us to use this pandemic as a serious time to reflect on how we can all emerge a stronger, more caring and committed faith-filled Catholic Church!
Please let us continue to pray for each other during these difficult times.
Chancellor, Diocese of Owensboro