No More Registrations For Mass Needed!
Here is the short version: You no longer need to register ahead of time to attend Mass at any of our local parishes (Longview, Kelso, Castle Rock, and Cathlamet). Just show up and sit wherever you would like. Please keep in mind that you might be sitting closer than six feet to others. If you would like to continue with strict social distancing, please call and let us know or sign up in the regular way and we will make sure you are accommodated.
Now some longer thoughts for those interested on why this decision was made…
We recently received new directives from the Archdiocese which read:
We are excited about some new changes now that all parishes are in Phase 3. Please see the following changes that you may wish to implement:
For parishes approaching their COVID limits, it is possible to allow people to sit closer together.
This means there would be no need to require 6 feet of social distancing.
This means that you no longer need to block off every other pew for seating.
At the same time, we recognize that some will continue to want to sit socially distanced. Please create a section that allows people to sit socially distanced should they choose to. This section should not be at the back of the church but on equal par with those who choose to sit in closer proximity.
I also called a few pastors who have been in phase three for a few months now and asked how they were handling this. They had stopped registrations weeks ago and have allowed parishioners to sit wherever they’d like (keeping a reserved section for those who want to continue strict social distancing), and there have been no issues. Thus, I am confident that we can implement this change and maintain a safe environment for vulnerable people.
It is also worth pointing out that our even prior to the pandemic, our parishioners were already pretty good at social distancing. That is kind of a joke, but also kind of serious. Our parishioners have always liked their space and people don’t tend to sit incredibly close to each other when they have the freedom to sit wherever they’d like.
As I recently announced, I am not comfortable segregating parishioners based on their vaccine status. I am, however, comfortable accommodating parishioners wants when it comes to their comfort levels of social distancing.
This is the only change we are implementing at this time. I know that many people are ready to make other changes, but we need to take it slow. I know people are especially ready to remove their masks, but the Archdiocese is asking us to keep them on, except in the case of a medical issue.
The reason for this is that we are still most concerned about “super spreader” events, where COVID is transmitted to many people at once. Some do not believe that masks work to stop COVID, but I have yet to see a “Super Spreader” event when masks were used. (That is not to say there haven’t been instances of this… it just means I haven’t seen it)
Once again, I believe that we can implement this change and still maintain a safe environment for everyone and maintain our history of zero COVID-19 transmissions.
Thank you for your continued cooperation and patience!