A Video Message & Letter from Monsignor Hendricks

Click here to view Monsignor Hendricks’ video message to all parishioners, and read his letter below.

Dear Parishioners,

Slowly at first it began to sink in to me.  At the advice of my physician and with the consent of Bishop Brennan, I moved from the rectory at St. Brigid to Delaware, Ohio where I have a retirement Condominium which I purchased in 1994. I left the parish on March 13, and began self-isolation due to my age.  I am 73 now and in good health.  It has been a different life.  I did not do well in isolation, but continued to work from “home” and keep up with staff and parish events.  I found that the COVID-19 virus and the precautions to avoid it changed my life and the expectations I had while isolated.  Into the eighth week, and celebration of Mass privately, I found that this was not going to work in the long term.

I began to consult with the staff at St.Brigid, my doctor, other priest friends, and Fr. Matt Morris.  In short, I was able to move back to the rectory at St. Brigid on May 2, work out a way to stream daily Mass, and be close to parish workings and continue my work and administrative duties and limited pastoral presence. I am still in self-isolation here and will be until the Governor removes the “stay at home “ order hopefully at the end of May.

Now we as a staff and parish leadership are planning how to restart our parish worship and ministries in a safe environment. This will be a long and complicated endeavor.  There are no easy answers. If the weekend of May 30-31 does go forward to begin public worship, we may have to begin in stages and slower than hoped.  The issues are safety and security for the vulnerable, children, spacing, social distancing, cleaning and sanitation, government restrictions, elimination of risk to exposure and spread of the virus.  Fortunately, because of the great work of Fr. Morris and the deacons, we have a very fine “live stream” Mass each day.  We have the Chapel on a 24-hour loop, we have used technology to keep in touch with others — the homebound, the sick, those who are poor or in crisis, and those who have lost loved ones during this time. We plan to keep those going for the short-term future and even after there is a staged opening of our facilities.

My recommendations for our parish in the short-term, meaning the coming months, are as follows:

  1. If you are age 60 or over, please continue with the live stream for Mass.
  2. If you are in the vulnerable population, afraid of contagion, have underlying health conditions, or are just unsettled about what to do, please continue with the live stream Mass.
  3. Any opening of the Church or Chapel will have limited seating, with proper social distancing, masks, hand sanitizing, possible temperature checks, and maybe gloves. The new normal is not going to be as normal as we like. Limited seating as currently discussed is in the range of 10-50 people in the Church or Chapel at a time.
  4. The Bishops of Ohio have continued the dispensation to attend Sunday Mass.

As we slowly return to celebrating Mass together physically, and as we try to figure out the best way to keep people safe, we know life will be different. In the coming weeks, we will communicate with all parishioners via email and the website as we finalize our plan and restrictions for a gradual re-opening of our church. Much of this is a “wait and see” approach, as we ensure we are cautiously making the best decisions for the health and safety of our community.

I ask for your prayers and patience as we move forward to be able to celebrate the fullness of our Roman Catholic Faith.Msgr. Joseph Hendricks