If anyone had told us on New Year’s Day what the spring of 2020 would look like, we probably would have had a variety of responses; but I dare say that we would not have believed that we would be so restricted for so long.
I certainly did not imagine that my last few months at St. Agatha’s would be so different. Actually, given the current restrictions, I had accepted the fact that I would not be able to say good-bye to you in any personal way other than from the pulpit during all three Masses my last weekend.
The Pastoral Staff, however, came up with a plan that is second-best to what I had hoped for. They’re working on a walk-through farewell in the Parish Hall after all the Masses on the weekend of July 11th and 12th. We would all be wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. People would walk in one door; we would offer our personal sentiments to each other with lots of virtual hugs; then they would exit through the other set of parish doors. The line would keep moving. Unfortunately, there will be no chairs and no refreshments for this walk-through. Of course, I wish that there could be an opportunity for people to visit with each other and that I could leisurely visit with you; but I accept that this plan is about the best we can do.
I know that some parishioners don’t feel comfortable yet at Sunday Mass, nor would they come to this walk-through farewell. I accept that, and I want to assure you that your safety and comfort are my highest concerns. I will say that we plan to broadcast Mass on the weekend of July 11th -12th for those who can’t attend one of the weekend liturgies.
As my retirement date draws closer, I’m realizing more intensely how difficult it will be to leave you and St. Agatha’s Parish.
~Father Dan Ochs