We’ve been pretty solidly locked up here, and I guess it’s time to start looking at ways to welcome folks back into their church. The medical situation has not changed. If anything I think we’ve become much more aware of who huge this situation is – and how lethally dangerous. That hasn’t changed. But I think most of us have developed a bit of experience-based savvy that can help us adjust to it and still live as a Catholic community, and still survive.
That’s not as big a challenge for this really small community as it is for the neighboring parishes. When everyone is here of bigger events the church is still half empty. We’ve been sort of doing ‘social distancing’ here for years without even giving it a try.
Here I want to raise a few questions. And the first is the most important. What do you folks want to do? It’s your community. And that is not something I’m dropping in your laps, but just an open way to say that there is no plan or agenda about what we ought to do on my part. Traditionally, clergy have very big mouths and tiny ears. So in order to do anything we have to all open our eyes and ears and really recognize how much things have really changed in the last few months.
Going back to the start of the pandemic we had to forms of Mass here. We had a relatively simple Mass here on Saturday – readings, homily, and, communion – ran about 35-40 minutes; and on Sunday a much more celebrated liturgy, with hymns and readings, often a special something or other, and a magnificent support by our really spectacular musicians. Our historic church’s fabulous, “upside-down ship” acoustics and the presence of a really incredible Czech Petrof professional piano, and as good a corps of musicians as the Bay Area can muster conspired to make the liturgies here very winning. I will admit that 85 years of practice as reporter, writer, and editor have helped me come up with a practice of short and helpful talks.
But that was over three month ago. Now, things are really different and they’re not going back. Where do we do from here? What we have done on Saturday and Sunday is easy and very nice. Gentleness in our screeching world is welcome. But our doors will be opening. For life and what else ? Sooner or later we will be able to celebrate Mass. How? When? It’s our future. Time for thinking caps, and ears for more and younger folks as well.