In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to reflect on three things: respect, mercy, and love for our neighbor. These are fundamentals for Christians. If there is no love, respect, and mercy, it would be difficult to call ourselves Christians because our neighbor reflects the face of God among us.
And connecting the Gospel with reality and daily life, I want to invite you to follow the norms that our diocese has established to protect ourselves against the virus more seriously. It makes me very sad that some do not want to follow social distancing protocols or wear a face mask. I consider it a lack of respect and mercy for the brother or sister next to you. Some do not take this very seriously, but we have many brothers and sisters who are high-risk individuals, and they want to participate in the Eucharist, and they feel uncomfortable to see that the face mask is not being used. I ask you please to do it, but it must be done out of mercy to our brothers and sisters.
This month of October, the Fairfax County Health Department has reported two positive cases in our parish; both participated in Mass, but thanks to God and the safety protocols, there are no more cases, and everything remains stable. The use of the face mask and the hand sanitizer is essential, and we will continue to implement it. I ask you for your patience and understanding. Please do not feel bad or frightened, but rather, see it from the faith and learn to live with all this, always having God first.
Last week, the new sound system was installed. I have heard excellent comments about it, and we will continue working to improve it more. It is a fairly advanced system with modern technology; this is another of the Capital Campaign projects. Also, I’m happy to inform you that we began installing the altar lights and the painting of the church ceiling and the sanctuary walls will begin at the end of this month. Many of you have told me that it has not been painted in more than 30 years. Therefore, this painting will help the lighting be more effective; for this, I will ask for your patience and understanding, because for about two weeks, we will have the scaffolds installed, which will cause a bit of inconvenience, but it will be momentary.
Also, the lighting project would involve getting rid of the hanging chandeliers. I know that many favor the new lighting project, and others disagree. It is a rather difficult decision to make, but I would like to hear my parishioners’ ideas before making any changes. The lighting project is a priority to save more energy and because it represents a hazard to the employees who change the light bulbs in the hanging chandeliers every time they burn out. I await some comments about it.
Finally, I warmly appreciate your generosity and your commitment to the parish. Thanks to these commitments, our parish finances are stable because despite the hard times we live in, the collections have not decreased; I always thank God for you and your love for this your parish. May God reward you for such generosity! Similarly, I encourage those who have not yet done so to commit to helping us in the Capital Campaign since less than 40% have committed, and we need to renovate and maintain many areas of our building.
I have you in my prayers. I wish you a happy start to the week.