August 2, 2021
Mass, Covid Precautions and Recommendations
I received the letter below, slightly edited for the writer’s privacy, from a concerned father who is also a medical doctor (pediatrician). His message to me is about our current Covid 19 situation and his family. I pass it along for your consideration:
I am (an active Catholic and) father of 2 children and a general pediatrician. I was a Catholic school teacher for 6 years before entering medicine.
I was at Mass this morning … and noted something quite particular. Of the 6 families with children that I could see, 5 of those families were wearing masks (parents as well as the non-infant children). That was in stark contrast to the rest of the worshipers where only about 25% were wearing masks. … My wife and I are vaccinated but my children, like the children in the 5 other families that I could see, cannot be vaccinated. I did not feel comfortable for my children in this setting. …
…There is some emerging data (currently moving from anecdotal to stronger evidence) that the delta variant is affecting children and infants much more than the original COVID-19 strain. I've heard this locally from my colleagues who care for hospitalized children and read published observations from pediatricians outside of Tucson.
Because of this, I ask you to consider taking the following actions:
1. Ask Mass attendees directly to wear masks while giving the reason that we need to make Mass attendance safe for those who cannot be vaccinated at this time (children).
2. Ask priests and deacons celebrating Mass as well as those participating in the Mass to wear masks when not speaking. This would serve as an example for parishioners in attendance.
3. Continue to encourage vaccination for those eligible as you are doing.
Thank you for your time and consideration of my suggestions.
+ A Catholic Father and Pediatrician
Our Current Situation according to Arizona Department of Health
46% of the Arizona’s population is fully vaccinated. 48% of the population has not received even a single dose. Approximately 80% of people 65 and over have been fully vaccinated. However, only 16% of under 20-year-olds are vaccinated. We need to be at 70% of the population fully-vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
Anyone 12 years or older can receive the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine. Pima County Health Clinics have COVID-19 vaccines available at no cost. Please check your local county health departments for availability in your area.
If you are NOT fully vaccinated, you should continue to wear a mask and take other precautions.
At this time, over 95% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Breakthrough cases – infections that occur after an individual has been fully vaccinated – account for 0.1 percent of cases
Pima County Health Department (PCHD) Recommended COVID-19 Mitigation Measures
Face Coverings: PCHD strongly recommends that all Pima County residents 5 and older (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear masks in public indoor settings if six feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained.
Fully vaccinated as well as unvaccinated individuals who are immune compromised, including those undergoing transplant or cancer treatment, should seek the guidance of their clinical care team before discontinuing mask use.
People who are vaccinated and develop symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested for COVID-19.
What I recommend is what this young doctor and father urges you to do:
Directly ask Mass attendees to wear masks while giving the reason that we need to make Mass attendance safe for those who cannot be vaccinated at this time (children).
Ask priests and deacons celebrating Mass as well as those participating in the Mass to wear masks when not speaking to serve as an example for parishioners in attendance.
Continue to encourage vaccination for those eligible as you are doing.
Due to the growing risk for unvaccinated parents, children, in general families with small children are hereby dispensed from the Sunday Mass obligation until further notice. As circumstances related to Covid protocols may vary from place to place, it is entirely at the discretion of parents as to whether or not they conclude that it is best to bring small children to Mass or to spend special prayer time with them at home on Sunday.
May God bless you and keep you safe!
+Edward J. Weisenburger
Parish Opening for
may 14, 2021
CHANGES IN OUR PROTOCOLS FOR MAY 14, 2021
Message from Bishop Weisenburger
Diocese of Tucson
Dear Faithful Catholic,
As you probably are aware, the CDC has announced that facemasks and social distancing are no longer required at indoor events for those who have been fully vaccinated. This is great news! However, in charity we must recall those who cannot be vaccinated or fear the possible transmission of the Covid-19 virus to vulnerable family members. Indeed, charity and understanding remain the hallmarks of the true followers of Jesus Christ. For this reason I am asking each pastor to provide one weekend Mass that keeps the full protocols in place. All remaining weekend Masses will resume without requiring facemasks or social distancing. This change in protocols will begin on the weekend of Pentecost (May 22/23).
If you prefer a Mass without protocols then I urge you to check your parish web site which will show which weekend Mass retains the protocols and the remaining weekend Masses which will be celebrated without protocols.
As we move forward let us not forget those whose lives were lost, those who were gravely impacted by the Coronavirus, or the vulnerable who walk with us still.
May God bless you abundantly,
Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger
Effective starting next week on MAY 21, 22, & 23, 2021
OUR LADY OF GRACE MASS SCHEDULE:
FRIDAY, 6:30 P.M. MASS - NO PROTOCOLS: ALL PEWS OPEN, NO SIGN UP OR MASKS REQUIRED
SATURDAY, 4:00 P.M. WITH PROTOCOL: SIGN UP AND & MASKS REQUIRED
8:00 A.M. NO PROTOCOLS: ALL PEWS OPEN, NO SIGN UP OR MASKS REQUIRED
10:00 A.M. NO PROTOCOLS: ALL PEWS OPEN, NO SIGN UP OR MASKS REQUIRED
12:00 P.M. NO PROTOCOLS: ALL PEWS OPEN, NO SIGN UP OR MASKS REQUIRED
8:00 a.m. Weekday Daily Mass – ALL PEWS OPEN, NO SIGN UP OR MASKS REQUIRED
Statement of Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger on the Suspension of Masses beginning July 1, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I wish to inform you that after a careful review of the medical situation, and hearing the recent concerns of our Governor and civic leaders on television, I have been advised by Diocesan leadership to suspend public worship. I agree with their recommendation and the suspension of public worship is effective as of today, July 1st, 2020. This returns us temporarily to those protocols we were following just prior to the reopening of our parishes. You should anticipate a suspension of approximately four weeks but the matter will be reviewed daily and the suspension could be for a shorter or longer duration.
Those who follow national news are aware that the State of Arizona has been referenced across the nation for our substantial spike in Covid-19 cases. When the pandemic began I stressed that a primary factor on reopening would be the ability of our hospitals and medical personnel to respond adequately to the sick. Members of the medical community—who daily place themselves at great risk to serve us—are now telling us that we are at a crisis point. I believe that we owe it these noble men and women to do our part in bringing the pandemic under control.
For now let us be committed to journeying in solidarity with the sick, the suffering, the unemployed, the frightened, and the healthcare workers who must daily face this pandemic without flinching. Join with your local parish for televised or internet Masses, or log onto the Diocese of Tucson web page and join me for daily Mass. The protocols we instituted for our parishes at the time of our reopening were sensible, thorough, and implemented with care and sensitivity. When we are able to open up once again these protocols will be reinstated. But for now, where it is safe, pastors will arrange for an outdoor distribution of Holy Communion after members of the faithful have observed a Mass via technology. Confessions will be heard only out-of-doors. The only public Masses will be funerals and weddings, and with a limit of ten persons in the congregation.
I wish to express my deep gratitude for the clergy and parish ministers who have responded so very well throughout the pandemic. They are extraordinary men and women and their fidelity to you and intense desire to be of service is a witness to the grace of their vocation.
Let us pray that this suspension is brief and that we can soon be in one another’s company. Let us also be unified in our resolve to lead the way in battling this pandemic. The witness and example of our lives and the intensity of our prayers will surely help to heal the world.
May God bless you abundantly,
+Edward J. Weisenburger
July 1, 2020
Statement of Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger on the Rise in Covid-19 Cases
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I know we’re all anxious to be back in our parishes but the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths has unexpectedly increased in Arizona. I very strongly encourage all those in the CDC vulnerable categories [especially those age 65+ or with a chronic health condition] to remain at home and let the Church come to you via technology. Just a few more weeks might make all the difference.
The Church loves you and wants you to be safe. God bless you!
+Edward J. Weisenburger, Bishop of Tucson
June 9, 2020
Statement of Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger on the Killing of Mr. George Floyd
I join with Bishops across our nation in denouncing racism and the violence it engenders.
The killing of Mr. George Floyd is an image that remains deeply etched in the minds of all Americans. I pray that this horrific image will lead to our reexamination of the lingering presence of racism in our culture and become a call to action for all of us to work for deep and lasting change.
I have prayed at Mass for Mr. Floyd by name. It is my prayer that God will raise him up to eternal life, even as God raises up a host of voices that cry out for justice and dignity for every human being and an end to violence in our communities.
+Edward J. Weisenburger, Bishop of Tucson
June 2, 2020