Expected changes at St. Mark in June after health orders expire
Many sudden changes came out late this week regarding what we can and should do during the pandemic. I will be able to give you full details next week of what this will mean for St. Mark, but I wanted to quickly give you some indication.
Most importantly, the dispensation from attending Sunday Mass in person will be lifted beginning on the weekend of June 5/6. As always, those who are ill, who have compromised immune systems or care for someone with compromised immune systems, and others with serious reasons are exempt from the moral obligation of attending Mass. But most of us, in our love of God, will be able and once again expected to fulfill his commandment to "do this in remembrance of me". I encourage you to take the time to read the full letter from the Bishops of Ohio, which explains our devotion to Mass in more detail than what I can do quickly in a few sentences. I do plan to continue live streaming the 11:00am Mass as a service to those who have serious reasons preventing them from coming in person.
Governor DeWine announced that the health orders for the State of Ohio will be lifted on June 2. Until that time, we do need to continue wearing masks, limit the capacity of the church, and maintain a social distance of six feet. I very much appreciate your understanding that nothing is able to be changed until then.
The Diocese of Cleveland has indicated that its own guidelines to the parishes will be updated sometime next week. Once I have those I can give you detailed plans for what to expect and when. My guess right now is that the seating in the church will return to normal (or something close to normal) on the weekend of June 5/6. I plan to keep the Social Hall setup with spaced seating for at least some time after that, for those that are more risk adverse and want more time before being comfortable with crowds.
I once again strongly encourage everyone to be vaccinated unless your doctor has advised you otherwise.