September 5, 2021

Dear parishioners and friends of our parish,

As we quickly approach the end of the summer with this Labor Day weekend, our parish community enters a busy time of the year. Preparations for the sacraments, religious formation programs for children and youth, and parish apostolic ministries are at the forefront of our minds. In fact, many of our parish activities have already resumed, and others are starting up.  Our priests and deacons, our parish staffs, leaders and volunteers are all working in earnest to ensure that important pastoral services are available to you, to the extent possible right now given the state of the current pandemic.

Like me, you might have noticed that the streets of our city are quickly filling up with cars, as traffic in general has gradually returned to its pre–pandemic level. Schools, restaurants, shopping centers, entertainment venues and other activities have also reopened to the public. This scenario assures us that many public spaces are now quite safe for people to gather, provided that everyone observes correctly all the health protocols recommended for this time.  Indeed, no one would dispute the benefits of real, and not virtual, human interactions. This is also true with respect to our spiritual life. In our parish, I am very happy to notice an increase in Mass attendance lately. Many of you have told me how wonderful it is to be able to pray and worship with the community. For this reason, I thought it appropriate to stress that our churches and parish facilities are now among the safest places to be, as we continue to observe all diocesan and state protocols to the smallest details.

I join you in praying that we will soon be able to emerge from the scourge of this pandemic and return to our usual parish life. To that end, I invite, encourage and urge all families, especially those with children and youth, to overcome their anxiety and come to church together, at least for the Sunday Eucharist. Your presence will not only be a testimony of your faith, but will also be a concrete and visible support to everyone else in living out their faith. More earnestly than ever, we are called to exercise our “ministry of presence” to one another, and what better place we have to do it than at the Eucharist, the source and summit of our Christian life?

Looking forward to seeing you again soon in person, I remain

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham