I have some unfortunate news to share with all of you. This past Friday night, I spiked a 103 degree fever and had a bit of a cough. Not knowing what it was and wanting to be safe, I asked Deacon Gary to have a communion service in place of our regular masses this weekend since I haven't been in contact with him for a while. Meanwhile, I scheduled a rapid COVID test. That test has now come back positive, so please, if you had been in contact with me unmasked for more than 15 minutes in the last week or so (So more than just walking up for communion last Sunday) , talk to your own doctor to see if you should be tested. Please take care of your own health!
I want to thank everyone for the prayers and support I've received so far. I know we're in uncharted territory. A lot of people have asked how I'm feeling. Right now, I'm just congested with a mild fever and a little cough. So health-wise yes, I'm sick, but it's not too bad for now.
After speaking to the diocese, there's a couple of practical things changes that are going to have to happen. For the time being, we're going to be shutting down the Office/Church buildings on Chestnut Ave. Next weekend and going forward until I'm cleared to return, Deacon Gary will hold a communion service at Holy Cross Chapel during the normal weekend mass times until I'm cleared for contact. Similarly, all funerals will be celebrated by a neighboring priest at the chapel. Once I'm feeling well enough, I'll celebrate mass and stream it from the winter chapel as we did during the lockdown. I hate to mention money at a time like this, but since I know people will ask, You're welcome to continue to drop off envelopes either at Deacon's communion services, through the mail-slot in the parish front door, or mail them to the parish.
Sadly, this also means our Turkey Dinner & Basket Party scheduled for next Sunday Nov 8th has been postponed until further notice. We were able to get all the turkeys refrozen before they thawed, so we should be able to reschedule that dinner once this is all over. Once we are able to reopen the office, we'll meet with the committee and figure out how to handle and refunds in a manageable way. More information will follow on that later on.
For our religious education families, please watch for updates from Sister Karen via email.
I know this is scary news for a lot of people. I know I tried to wear a mask wherever I went, to take whatever precautions I could, but this can happen to anyone. I'm reasonably young and healthy, I hope to weather this pretty well, but I worry for what this means for our parish. Please keep yourselves safe. Please help us rally together to keep our parish going through this. I've been so proud of how everyone had pulled together through this pandemic so far….please keep the faith!
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.