UPDATE FROM FR. MATT - APRIL 17, 2021
I want to thank everyone for their concern and well-wishes as we have been battling a small Covid outbreak here on staff. Thanks to the decisive action of everyone involved and following of the quarantine rules, we have been able to keep things from getting worse.
After several days in quarantine, Fr. Bart and I did end up testing positive for Covid. I was quite fatigued and stayed in bed over this last weekend but have been feeling better this week. Fr. Bart had a fever and headache but seems to also be improving. Assuming that our symptoms continue to improve, we will be able to be back at work soon. I should be back this weekend and Fr. Bart will be back sometime next week. There does not seem to be any further spread of Covid among the staff.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and follow all the CDC requirements. We have also been talking to the New Hampshire Department of Health to make sure we are taking appropriate steps. We will continue to use visiting priests when necessary to make sure all the weekend Masses are covered. The 7AM weekday Mass schedule will resume on Monday April 19th. Once Fr. Bart is able to return next week, I am planning on leaving for a previously scheduled vacation. So if you don’t see me for a couple weeks, it’s not because I’m still sick!
While we certainly hope that things will improve with the pandemic soon, this week has certainly been a reminder of the importance of the safety precautions that have been in place throughout this past year. Some people getting Covid is unavoidable, but we can all do our part to avoid a wider spread of the virus. The Covid restrictions and guidelines really do work and keep things as safe as possible in a church setting. I am confident that we will be able to come through this moment as a parish and look forward to welcoming many parishioners back to a renewed encounter with Christ in the coming months. Please continue to keep all those who suffer from Covid in your prayers.
NEWS FOR APRIL 9 - 17
Good Morning Beloved Community,
If you missed our previous posting, we've had the misfortune of some parish staff members being exposed to COVID.For the safety of our parishioners, friends, and families, we've conducted the appropriate closures and cleanings around the churches and office.
With Father Matt and Father Bart quarantining, adjustments to the schedule for the coming week are as follows...
- The Divine Mercy Sunday celebration from 2-4pm at St. Michael is canceled.
- The 4/14 Healing Mass is canceled.
At St. Mary:
- Visiting priests to celebrate Mass this weekend. Bishop Libasci will be with us on Sunday.
- Weekday morning Masses are canceled for 4/12, 4/13, & 4/15.
(A staff member will reach out to reschedule intentions.)
At St. Michael:
- Visiting priests to celebrate Mass this weekend.
- Monday and Tuesday morning Masses are canceled.
(A staff member will reach out to reschedule intentions.)
- Adoration will resume on Wednesday.
- Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday will just be Communion services at 8am with Deacon Eric.
- Thursday will be a full Mass.
We will continue to update you when possible.
Thank you for your patience, compassion, and understanding as we work to keep everyone as safe as possible. We appreciate your continued COVID-safety practices and look forward to resuming our regularly scheduled programming soon.
UPDATE - LETTER FROM FATHER MATT - APRIL 9th
I am sorry to inform you that a few members of the parish staff have tested positive for Covid-19 and that I have also developed some symptoms consistent with Covid. Other than a sore throat, body aches, and a general sense of tiredness, I am feeling ok. I began experiencing symptoms on Wednesday afternoon and I am still waiting for test results. I was already quarantining from Tuesday night on, as I had a close contact with another staff member who had tested positive. Fr. Bart has also been quarantining for the same reason and so far has experienced no symptoms.
Fortunately, because of the timing, it is very likely I was not contagious on Easter weekend and I was not at St. Mary’s Church in the days after. I tested negative on Easter Sunday afternoon when I went to Phillips Exeter Academy for Mass.
There was also at least one staff person with Covid who was at St. Mary Church at the 7pm Holy Thursday Mass on April 1. Anyone we are aware was in “close contact”, as defined by the CDC, has been informed of the need to quarantine.
I am grateful to Bishop Libasci and Fr. Theo who have come this weekend to cover the weekend Masses. Fr. Bart and I will be back when it is safe to do so. 7am morning Mass on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week here at St. Mary will be canceled. The Divine Mercy Celebration scheduled for Sunday afternoon and the Healing Mass scheduled for Wednesday night at St. Michael have also been canceled.
While we certainly hope the pandemic will get better soon, we have to continue to be vigilant. If you experience any symptoms of Covid-19 or had close contact with someone with Covid, please continue to follow the quarantine guidelines. While we can’t be together in person, we can be joined together in prayer during this beautiful Divine Mercy Sunday.
MASS NEWS & COVID UPDATE FROM FATHER MATT - APRIL 7, 2021
I am sorry to inform you that two of our staff members at St. Mary + Michael have tested positive for Covid-19. Fortunately, they both have mild symptoms and are doing well. Anyone we are aware was in “close contact” with these staff members, as defined by the CDC, has been informed of the need to quarantine. Unfortunately, that includes Fr. Bart and myself who were in close contact with one of these staff members this past weekend.
Fr. Bart and I are not experiencing any symptoms and I tested negative for Covid as recently as Sunday when I went to the Academy for Mass. However, we need to follow the quarantine rules and are implementing the following changes for the week to come:
o The churches and office will be closed and cleaned in accordance with CDC guidelines.
o No Mass was held at St. Michael this morning, Wednesday 4/7, and Adoration has been canceled for the day.
o St. Mary morning Mass will be canceled on Thursday 4/8, Monday 4/12, and Tuesday 4/13.
o St. Michael morning Mass will be canceled on Thursday 4/8, Friday 4/9, and Saturday 4/10.
o We will have visiting priests filling-in this weekend and Fr. Bart and I will be back, God willing, sometime next week.
While we certainly hope the pandemic will be over soon, we have to continue to be vigilant. If you experience any symptoms of Covid-19 or have been exposed to someone with Covid, please follow the quarantine guidelines.
While we can’t be together in person, we can be joined together in prayer during this beautiful Easter week. Please continue to pray for those who are ill and their families.
WE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR EACH OTHER DURING THE PANDEMIC
"Loving God, Holy One, Your desire is for our wholeness and well-being.
We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time. We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened. We ache for ourselves and our neighbors, standing before an uncertain future. We pray: May love, not fear, go viral. Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good. Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity.
Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence, You, the God who does not abandon, You, the Holy One, breathing within us, breathing among us, breathing around us in our beautiful yet wounded world."
- Sisters of IHM, Scranton, Pennsylvania