June 5, 2020

5 June 2020

Dearest Parishioners:

This past week we have begun reopening the Churches of Transfiguration and Saint Victor for daily Mass per approval of Bishop Zubik.  This was accompanied by recommendations.  Over the past several months the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization has amassed data with accompanying recommendations.

Both Churches will open based on current scientific data and a sensitivity to the psychological and sociological impact this pandemic has had on all of us, myself included.  Facts will be applied to the re-opening. 

This outline for reopening to include the following sections:

  1. What is the information regarding West Deer Township and its surrounding environs?
  2. What are the current public health recommendations regarding personal health and safety?
  3. How will the recommendations, not laws, be implemented at the current Transfiguration and Saint Victor Parishes and continue with the new Our Lady of the Lakes Parish beginning?
    • How do we translate this into the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and other sacraments?
  4. How will the process of reopening unfold over the next several weeks?

 

Status Regarding West Deer Township & The Immediate Surrounding Areas

Allegheny County Health Department (05 June 2020)

Municipality

# Cases

# Deaths

West Deer

13

0

Fawn

1

0

Frazer

0

0

Hampton

21

1

Richland

77

30

As you can see the only outlier is Richland Township, actually Gibsonia, with St. Barnabas claiming 31 deaths.  In the 5 municipalities there was a total non-long-term care facility cases of 81 with 1 death, out of a total combined population of 47,687.  Thus, 0.169% of the total population developed COVID-19 and 0.002097% died of COVID-19. 

The COVID-19 virus is spread by aerosolized droplets from the upper airway of the human body.  Sneezing, coughing or forced expulsion of air with direct contact by another transmits the virus.  There are near negligible possibilities of contracting the virus any other way.

Current Health Recommendations With Scientific Certainty From CDC, WHO & PA Health Department

  1. IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE BECOMING ILL OR ARE ILL, STAY HOME!
  2. Thoroughly washing your hands and in-between use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer may reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  3. Maintain distancing between people may reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  4. Proper mask use may help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Mask understanding:
    1. COVID-19 virus is 0.12 microns in size, a piece of hair is roughly 30 microns.
    2. All masks have pores, allowing movement of air through the mask.
      1. N95 mask’s pores are 0.10 microns, thus it can filter the COVID-19 virus.
      2. All other masks have pores larger than the COVID-19 virus, the goal is to reduce the number of viruses, not eliminate them.
    3. Masks, when regularly worn should be frequently changed with fresh ones.
      1. Salvia, nasal discharge, other microscopic organisms and organisms in the air can all become a part of a breath dampened mask.
      2. NEVER DIRECTLY TOUCH THE MASK! Use the mask ties or elastic bands to place it on your face, adjust or remove.  You will contaminate your hands and you will contaminate others in directly touching the mask.
      3. Homemade cloth masks should be washed with antibacterial soap and water, allow to air dry.
    4. Please note all agencies recommend the use of a mask except the World Health Organization. According to the USA Today newspaper (May 27th, 2020) quoted Dr. Anthony Fauci, an expert on infectious diseases, as saying that he wears a mask as a symbol and not out necessity.
  5. THE BOTTOM LINE? IF YOU WEAR A MASK, WEAR IT  RESPONSIBLY!

Reopening Transfiguration & Saint Victor Parishes

There will be a stepwise process in re-opening the parishes.  This will ensure there is a smooth flow, especially during the reception of Holy Communion. 

Bishop Zubik’s dispensation from attending Sunday Mass remains in effect until otherwise noted.  Any updates will be on the website.

There will only be DAILY MASSES from June 2nd to June 13th. Sunday Masses will be added beginning June 13th.  Thus, the regular Mass schedule (weekday and weekend) with confessions will be in effect beginning Saturday June 13th.

Here are some reminders:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before leaving your house and after the use of a restroom.
  2. Use hand sanitizer.
  3. If you are wearing mask, wear it in a responsible manner.
  4. Gloves are not recommended by any public health group.
    1. If you wear gloves, please do not touch any surfaces in the church since there isn’t any proper method of sanitizing gloves. AGAIN, IF YOU ARE WEARING GLOVES DO NOT TOUCH ANY SURFACES IN THE CHURCH!
    2. Gloves must be removed by taking them off inside out, placing the used ones in a pocket or purse.
    3. COMMUNION WILL NOT BE DISTRIBUTED ONTO A GLOVED HAND.

Finally, I welcome you all back with open arms!  With the 6-foot distancing church seating is rather limited: Transfiguration, 44 seats; Saint Victor, 53 seats.  It’s wonderful so many of you want to attend Mass, it’s very heartening.  Here are a few suggestions for now:

  1. The dispensation from attending Sunday Mass by Bishop Zubik remains.
  2. If you would like to attend Mass weekly, consider this:
    1. If you are able to attend a weekday Mass, please do so to avoid the Sunday rush.
    2. If you are able to only attend Sunday Mass, please take further considerations:
      1. It will be first come first serve. Restaurants may take reservations but not the Church.
      2. Consider a less populated Mass.
    3. Taped pews and ribbon gates are up for a reason, for your safety and other’s safety, removing them could result in you being invited to leave premises.

God bless you all,

Fr. Jim