COVID, vaccines and masks (as of this weekend)
I hope that the following will help you as you come to church this weekend during these increasingly uncertain times.
Please note that the Church Hall is still available for social distancing with Communion available during Mass.
COVID-19 and its variants continue to dominate the news here in New Jersey and throughout the country. At Visitation we continue to study the situation and find the proper balance between watching out for everyone's safety and supporting the right that everyone has to public worship. Here is the direction we have received from the Diocese:
The highest doctrinal authorities in the Church (Pope, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Bishop of this Diocese) have determined and advised that it is morally permissible to take the available vaccines and have
(not mandated) people to get vaccinated. It must be voluntary, according to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (quoted by the USCCB) as well as the Catholic Medical Association. There is plenty of good, reliable information available in respectable, mainstream Catholic publications.
Despite publicized differences of opinions among some US bishops, the voluntary nature of the vaccines according to the above noted doctrinal authorities admit the possibility for conscience exemptions to be requested.
On July 28, NJ Governor Murphy and NJ Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli issued a “strong recommendation (
a mandate) that both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents wear masks in indoor settings when there is a risk.”
The CDC has pointed out that there is risk exposure in all 21 counties of NJ.
The Diocese of Trenton encourages (
mandates) consideration of this strong recommendation at this time; if circumstances trend/change in a negative direction, a further determination will be made and announced. The Diocese leaves the judgment in individual parishes to the pastors to determine any further, more local or on-site direction.
On August 6, NJ Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 251 requiring that “all students, educators, staff and visitors
will be required
(this is a mandate) to wear face masks indoors for the start of the 2021-22 school year.” This applies to all public, private and parochial preschool, elementary and secondary school buildings. Exceptions to this executive order may be found on the official site of the State of New Jersey,
Masks should be worn by all priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion during Mass. Hand sanitization before and after distribution should be observed.
Through this all, there is no substitute for good, sound judgment.
Fr. Ed Blanchett
on Friday, August 13 at 3:00PM