1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Dear Parishioners,

HELP COMMUNICATE: FOR THOSE WHO DON’T USE COMPUTERS OR EMAILS
There are a number of parishioners for whom we do not have an email address. If you are aware of them, (or if you are who is happening to read this) please encourage them to call the parish office and give us their email address so they can receive timely communications regarding their parish. At the very least, please forward parish communications/emails to them. For some parish households, we do not have an email address because they do not have one and do not use email. If you are aware of someone like this, please print them off a hard copy and give it to them so they can be informed.

LETTER FROM BISHOP FOYS
In the Messenger this weekend there is a letter from Bishop Foys to all of the people of the Diocese of Covington about the resuming of public Masses in our diocese. I encourage you to read it. The letter is also posted on the diocesan website (covdio.org) and our parish website (saintagnes.com)

INACCURATE NEWS STORY
This past Wednesday, Bishop Foys communicated to us that there was inaccurate reporting about the distribution of Holy Communion once public celebrations of the Mass resume. Bishop Foys instructed that the following notice be posted on the diocesan website to mitigate the spread of this false reporting.

URGENT: Holy Communion WILL BE distributed in the Diocese of Covington. It has been brought to our attention that a WKRC Local 12 news article inaccurately reported that when public celebration of the Mass resumes, May 20, Holy Communion would not be distributed in the Diocese of Covington. THIS IS NOT TRUE and has never been the case. WKRC Local 12 was quickly made aware of the gross inaccuracy of their reporting and the distress this has caused our faith community. We have been assured that a correction would be made to properly address the false reporting.

WEEKDAY MASSES RESUME:
We will resume public weekday Masses this Wednesday, May 20 at our usually times: 6:30 AM and 11:30 AM. Because of social distancing requirements, both Masses will be in the main church. The Protocols described below will apply.

SUNDAY MASSES RESUME:
We will resume public Sunday Masses next Saturday/Sunday, May 23/24. Masses will be at the regular times: 4 PM (Saturday) and 8:30 AM and 11:30 AM on Sunday. Protocols described below will apply.

SOCIAL DISTANCING IN CHURCH: GET “SPACED OUT!”
We have 78 pews in church. Seating will be allowed in every other pew, which leaves us with 39 pews we can use. With the usable pews, there will be pieces of tape that should mark out separations for individuals. Please note, members of the same household may sit with each other, otherwise there should be at least six feet between you and anyone else, not a member of your household.

As you can see, the number of places available for persons to sit in will be greatly reduced. This could be an issue at the 4 PM (Saturday) and 10:30 AM Sunday Masses. I encourage people to consider going to the 8:30 AM on Sunday if possible, which fewer people generally attend, to make available more seats at the other Masses.

WEAR A MASK TO MASS
I encourage everyone to where a mask to Mass. This is something we all can do to help reduce the chance of spreading the virus, to ourselves, our families and to anyone we may come in contact with.

IF YOU ARE CONCERNED…
People ask about dispensations. In general, you only need a dispensation from something when you don’t have a good excuse. If you have a good excuse, that is your “dispensation” so to speak. This is true for Mass. If you are concerned about giving the virus, or getting the virus, than by all means play it safe. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is particularly good advice in these circumstances. While we are resuming Masses, this does not mean everyone should come to Mass. If you have underlying health concerns due to age, heart conditions, respiratory conditions, diabetes, etc. I would encourage you NOT to come to Mass until the overall conditions improve.

REDUCED MINISTERS TO START OUT WITH
The name of the game right now is minimizing contacts with different people. For this reason, at the start, only our priests and deacons will perform sanctuary ministries at Mass. Sacristan, Server, Lector and Communion Minister duties will all be performed by our priests and deacons.

Greeters and ushers will hold doors for people as they enter and leave church, minimizing the touching of door handles.

Ushers will take up the collection as usual using the baskets with the long handles.

There will be no processions (entrance or offertory) from the back of the church.

We will have a musician and a cantor only at each Mass. For the time being, they will be in the sanctuary to give them a safer distance from persons in the aisles and pews.
You will notice that the Today’s Missal books and the Mass Cards have been removed from church for the time being.

COMMUNION LINES WILL BE DIFFERENT
For the distribution of Communion in both the Main Body of Church and the Annex:
I. People exit their pews from the side-aisle side,
II. Come forward to the front,
III. Walk across the front,
IV. Receive communion from the Priest or Deacon at the head of the center aisle,
V. Return to their pew down the center aisle.

There will be only one minister at the head of the aisle. He will alternate from side to side those he is giving Communion to, so as to allow for spacing as people return to their pews down the middle aisles.

SANITIZING AFTER EACH MASS
After each Mass, the pews will be wiped down, as will the door handles, railings and bathroom. We will need help doing this after every Mass, both on Sundays and the other days of the week. Cleaning supplies will be supplied. For the time being, we ask volunteers to bring their own mask. It is easy to sign up. For more information and to sign up by going to the following link:

https://bit.ly/MassCleanup

A CONCERN
Right now my biggest concern is what may happen when we reach capacity with the seating and people have to be turned away. I don’t like that idea, but we will have to enforce the social distancing… In other words, we have to follow the protocols. So please be patient as we try to get all of this worked out.

WHEN WILL PARISH OFFICES REOPEN
We have had one administrative staff person in the parish office for a half-day each day this past week to begin to get things caught up administratively. There will be more staffing this coming week. We are starting slowly, along with our diocesan offices.

NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET, SO PATIENCE and GENEROSITY
I mentioned this last week, and it bears repeating… Some experts caution that the worst is yet to come. As I write this (May 15) the death toll is over 86,500.

LIVE-STREAMING FROM SAINT AGNES?
Regarding the live-streaming project: We may be up and running by next weekend, at least partially. As of this writing (May 15) we have received over $2,000 in donations to help pay for the project. (Thank you very much to these generous donors!) This leaves a balance of about $3,500. Every little bit will help. If you would like to contribute to the live-streaming project, just clearly mark you gift and mail it to the parish office (1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011-2779) or drop it in the drop-box slot on the parish office porch.
Again, this capability should make our Masses and other worship services in our church accessible to anyone who has a computer or Facebook access. Also, it will make it possible for people who are out of town to view weddings, funerals, and more in the parish.

FIRST COMMUNION SUNDAY
Still nothing definite to communicate year. It is appearing more likely that it will not be until the fall.

ASSISTANCE FOR ST. AGNES PARISHIONERS
Dear Parishioners, just a reminder that the St. Agnes Christian Service Committee may be able to help if you have been affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns and are in need of assistance with utilities, rent, mortgage, food, medicine, or other needs. Many individuals and families who never thought they would need help are now finding themselves in difficult financial situations. The Christian Service Committee has been assisting St. Agnes parishioners for almost 50 years, All information is kept confidential and only known to the five members on the committee. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please email the rectory with your contact information and one of the committee members will reach out to you.
Sincerely, St. Agnes Christian Service Committee (Carol Allison, Steve Lorenz, Dave Rechtin, Kevin Schwartz, Ted Vogelpohl)

THINGS FINANCIAL and MAINTENANCE-WISE
The quarantining of the recent weeks has allowed us to get the advanced CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) Security System installed on our property, or nearly so. This is a security/safety issue and we have been working on this since last fall. Apparently the installation is complete now. Both the school administration and parish office will be trained in its usage.

CHURCH DOORS
We had contracted late last year to refinish the front doors of the church. A parishioner stepped forward at the time and generously made a donation that pays for much of the cost. That work has begun on the door frames. Soon, they will remove a set of doors at a time to refinish them back at their shop.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: “How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice?”

A few years ago I read a book by a Sebastian Junger, Tribe–On Homecoming and Belonging. The following is from the introduction:

In the fall of 1986, just out of college, I set out to hitchhike across the northwestern part of the United States. I’d hardly ever been west of the Hudson River, and in my mind what waited for me out in Dakota and Wyoming and Montana was not only the real America but the real me as well. I’d grown up in a Boston suburb where people’s homes were set behind deep hedges or protected by huge yards and neighbors hardly knew each other. And they didn’t need to: nothing ever happened in my town that required anything close to a collective effort. Anything bad that happened was taken care of by the police or the fire department, or at the very least the town maintenance crews. (I worked for them one summer. I remember shoveling a little too hard one day and the foreman telling me to slow down because, as he said, “Some of us have to get through a lifetime of this.”)
The sheer predictability of life in an American suburb left me hoping–somewhat irresponsibly–for a hurricane or a tornado or something that would require us to all band together to survive. Something that would make us feel like a tribe. What I wanted wasn’t destruction and mayhem but the opposite: solidarity. I wanted the chance to prove my worth to my community and my peers, but I lived in a time and a place where nothing dangerous ever really happened. Surely this was new in the human experience, I thought. How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage?… Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. It’s time for that to end.

PRAYER
A prayer I came across when in college at the Newman Center at the University of Kentucky. I have always thought this was a lovely prayer.

Mary Stewards’ Prayer
Keep us O God from all pettiness. Let us be large in thought, in word, in deed. Let us be done with fault-finding and leave off all self-seeking. May we put away all pretense and meet each other face to face, without self pity and without prejudice. May we never be hasty in judgement, and always be generous. Let us always take time for all things, and make us grow calm, serene and gentle. Teach us to put into action our better impulses, to be straightforward and unafraid. Grant that we may realize that it is the little things of life that create differences, that in the big things of life, we are as one. And, O Lord, let us not forget to be kind. Amen.

God bless you,
Father Mark Keene, Pastor