Vaccines and Hope for Normal
Tomorrow is Laetare Sunday, which as the fourth Sunday of Lent has always been marked with rejoicing as the dawn of Easter starts to appear on the horizon. This year it feels like we have additional excitement as the we make major progress against this pandemic as the vaccines become more available. As such, I wanted to take a brief moment to talk with you about my hopes and plans for the parish in the near future.
I encourage all of you to be vaccinated as soon as it is available to you. When this email gets sent to your inboxes I should be getting the second dose of the vaccine myself, as I was thankfully included in the category of those who work in schools. Both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict have received the vaccine. The only reasonable way out of this pandemic is to make sure that everyone who can be vaccinated does so as soon as they can.
If you have a choice, morally you should avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in preference of the others. All the vaccines approved for distribution were developed using stem cells lines derived from abortions (usually around a thousand generations of cell divisions removed from the original fetal cells), but the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is currently the only one that also uses those cell lines for production. The Vatican has clarified for us that when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available, it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process. For more information you can read the release from the USCCB, which includes further sources of information at the end.
I'll include at the bottom of this email some sources of where to get the vaccine.
I am incredibly excited to start seeing parish life return to normal as soon as it is safe. Not a moment before then, but I am eager. I'm sure many of you feel the same way, so I wanted to give you some expectations of what I am currently thinking.
Limited singing will be done by Terri or myself ONLY starting with Easter. This is a hard one because I know how much most people in our parish like singing and have been wanting it to return. I also know that some parishes have been more relaxed about this than I have. Singing at Mass and other liturgies is always supposed to be done by the whole assembly and not as a performance by a cantor or choir; cantor or choirs are there to help us, not replace us. The problem is that studies have proved very conclusively that when singing, masks and social distancing are not enough to stop the spread of COVID. On the other hand, the diocesan pandemic guidelines do allow for singing by a single person only, as long as the song is something unfamiliar so that everyone won't join in. So for Easter to add in some of the joy of the season, we plan to have Terri sing a little bit and - if I'm up for it - I'll chant some of my parts.
Solemn Eucharist Adoration will be offered during Easter, as we pray for the pandemic to truly end and for community life to return. Unlike the holy hours we have been doing, a solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament includes incense, scripture, preaching, and a Benediction. I don't have this scheduled yet on the calendar so more details will be coming when we get to Easter. But my hope is that at least a few times we can gather and pray with great intention and desire to see those normal times again.
Seating in the Social Hall will be expanded. Lately we have been getting more people at Mass, which is wonderful to see. But sometimes both the Church and the Social Hall have been getting close to capacity. I have a second screen ordered for the Social Hall to add seating in the front section when you walk in that is currently empty. It should come this week, and as long as there are no technical problems (please let there be no technical problems) we should have that up for next weekend.
I'm honestly not sure whether to prepare the Gym as overflow seating for Easter. At Christmas we never needed to use it, even at the 4:00pm Christmas Eve Mass before that terrible snow storm started. But with more people coming lately and fewer Easter Masses compared to Christmas... might not be a terrible idea. Let me think about it a little more.
This list was forwarded to me by someone else. I can't claim that this is a comprehensive list, but if you need a place to start, perhaps this will help.
The county wide vaccine center at Wolstein Center is now taking reservations, you can follow the reservation link below. As of this typing, the Wolstein Center is the easiest option to make an appointment. The center is open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 8 weeks and parking is free. www.gettheshot.coronovirus.ohio.gov
Rite Aid has received an influx of vaccine and is updating their registration info via GoodRx.com (accessed through the Rite aid website) every 5 minutes. https://www.goodrx.com/covid-19/rite-aid
CVS is also now offering the vaccine. We understand that CVS may be only offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, so if true you might want to avoid them. https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine
Schedule at Discount Drug Mart: https://clinic.discount-drugmart.com/covid/register/
Schedule at MetroHealth: https://www.metrohealth.org/covid-19/covid-vaccine
Schedule at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. Please note vaccine appointments at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center are only available to residents of Cuyahoga County, per guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health. https://www.stvincentcharity.com/services-centers/covid-19-vaccination/
Schedule at the Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/landing/covid-19-vaccine/ohio
Register through University Hospitals: https://vaccine.uhhospitals.org/