My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I hope you and your families had a blessed Thanksgiving, in whatever manner you chose to share that holiday. Know that you were all in my prayers as I am thankful for you all, and your prayerful support.

As I noted last week, Christmas Eve is on a Thursday, Christmas Day is Friday, and then the Saturday and Sunday Masses will be held on our typical COVID-era schedule.

And I also remind everyone that your obligation to attend Mass for Holy Days (e.g., Christmas) and Sundays has been suspended by our Bishop, who reminds us to “… exercise prudential judgment in deciding whether to attend Mass.”

In an effort to keep COVID-19 from spreading through our community, please continue to make prudent decisions on whether to attend Christmas Mass with your family; if you have out-of-town visitors, or a large number of family visiting for Christmas, consider not bringing everyone to Mass.

You can also consider signing up for only one Mass during that four-day weekend, since seating capacity will be very limited at all Masses. Given that there is no obligation this year, there is no need to observe both Christmas Day and Sunday Mass during this four-day stretch. Become comfortable with the idea that attending just one of the Masses offered through the four-day period may be a prudent choice for your family.

All the Masses – those of Christmas and the Sunday immediately following – are in the Christmas Octave, so attending only one Mass within that four-day period (Dec. 24th through Dec. 27th) will still be a great celebration of the Nativity. Look for our Christmas Mass schedule to be published soon.

I know the traditions of Christmas are very important to all of us which, for most, include attending Christmas Mass with extended family and visiting friends. Things must necessarily be different this year, so let us all be prudent in preparing for that reality. However, let us also continue to pray for an end to this pandemic, and a return to normalcy.

Please be assured of my prayers for a blessed Advent for you and your families!

In Christ, through Mary the Immaculate Conception,
Fr. Cook