2 August 2021
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Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 recommendations for fully vaccinated people due to the increased surge of the Delta variant in the United States. The recommendations include:
- Encouraging fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
- Getting tested if one is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Getting tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wearing a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result.
- Isolating if a person has tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools.
The recommendation for fully vaccinated individuals to continue wearing masks is meant to protect the unvaccinated, including those, such as children under 12, who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.
According to the CDC, infections happen in only a small portion of those who are fully vaccinated and, if infected, those vaccinated have a substantially reduced risk of severe illness and death. However, they warn that there is evidence to suggest that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others.
These guidelines reverse the CDC’s May guidance that the fully vaccinated no longer needed to wear a mask and are largely in response to the increased spread of COVID-19 (along with emerging variants of the virus) in areas with low vaccination rates. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently reported that areas in Southwest Missouri have begun to see an increase in cases, including among those under age 12. In addition, the age of those experiencing severe complications has been decreasing. In Green County, the average age of the 32 residents who died in July was 63, compared to 88 in March 2020.
The full announcement, along with other COVID-19 information, can be found at the CDC website.
As we see an increase in COVID-19 cases, parishes can reference my statement from March 4 encouraging vaccinations. At the end of my statement are links to the Missouri Catholic Conference, the USCCB and the Holy See. Please note we continue to deal with websites which are circulating false information.
We are providing graphics parishes can use in bulletins and social media to encourage vaccinations.
Sacrament of Confirmation
All parishes must complete a form by Aug. 31 (even if you plan to not have confirmation in 2022) regarding the celebration of confirmation. You may find all necessary information at diojeffcity.org/confirmation. Please submit a registration form regardless of whether you intend to celebrate the sacrament in 2022. Be sure to read the letters from the master of ceremonies and the director of religious education and youth ministry before completing the form.
Support the Hyde Amendment
This week, the U.S. House passed a Medicaid spending bill without 40-year-old bipartisan pro-life riders, commonly known as the Hyde Amendment, that have prevented federal tax dollars from paying for abortions and protected healthcare providers from having to participate these horrific acts. This vote is the first time in decades that this appropriation bill has passed a chamber of Congress without the protective language.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, expressed their dismay following the vote. “The House has voted in a way that is completely out of step with the will of the American people who overwhelmingly oppose taxpayer-funded abortion. The Hyde Amendment has saved at least 2.4 million lives since its enactment. Without it, millions of poor women in desperate circumstances will make the irrevocable decision to take the government up on its offer to end the life of their child.”
Three Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Tim Kaine of Virginia have all stated publicly they intend to fight for Hyde protections, so the House bill isn’t expected to pass in the Senate, but the vote in the House sets a bad precedent. The Missouri Catholic Conference is continuing to ask you to call your congressional delegation to express your dismay about these developments and to encourage your senators to fight for these common-sense riders that have prevented taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions since 1976. Read the full USCCB statement here.
Catholic Charities announces “Sister Hope”
Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri (CCCNMO), the charitable services outreach of the Diocese of Jefferson City, has partnered with Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and technology provider X2AI to provide easy, immediate and free access to mental health support through a chatbot named Hope.
Built by clinical psychologists, the chatbot connects clients through AI-driven text conversations that are available in both English and Spanish 24 hours a day, 7-days a week. Research studies indicate using the chatbot led to significantly reduced symptoms, on average by 28% for depression, and 18% for anxiety. If warranted, a connection with a Catholic Charities or other licensed therapist can be made. If someone’s response suggests that they are contemplating suicide or are at immediate risk of domestic violence, they will receive an immediate call from a crisis counselor.
Parishes are encouraged to use the graphics (in English and Spanish) available through the link below to promote this service to parishioners. To access the free, confidential Hope service, users can text “Hi” to 1-202-949-7249, or visit https://www.facebook.com/HopeCCUSA, and utilize the start code: CCCNMO.
Update regarding David Haas, composer
From Alec Harris, president of GIA Publications: “Last year, we were deeply heartbroken as dozens of women came forward to share their allegations of sexual assault by composer David Haas. I assume that by now you are aware of the non-profit organization that supports survivors of sexual abuse, Into Account, which recently released a comprehensive investigation and report about these allegations at www.intoaccount.org/reports/. Unfortunately, new information has just surfaced reporting continued grooming behaviors by Mr. Haas towards a young woman, which is why we are reaching out to you now with this email to share the actions and position we have taken with regard to Mr. Haas’ music.
“Specifically, we have suspended our publishing and sponsorship relationship with Mr. Haas and have also removed his music, books, and recordings from our catalog and website. While we understand that Mr. Haas maintains his innocence, we took these actions out of compassion and respect for the dozens of survivors who have come forward and because we believe Mr. Haas’ music no longer has a place in communities committed to maintaining a safe environment.”
As a reminder, as your bishop, I have placed a moratorium on using any David Haas music throughout our diocese. Please ensure your musicians and song leaders are informed of this. Even though his musical works may already be in your hymns or purchased material, please refrain from using them. Of course, we encourage anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or harassment, whether by David Haas, or any member of the church, to come forward. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the use of David Haas’ music, please contact Father Dan Merz, chair of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission.
Our Lady of the Lake in Lake Ozark has 100 percent cotton, hooded altar server albs available to any parish in the diocese. Sizes available are: size 9 and size 10, two of each; size 12, six; size 14, three and size 16, one. Please contact Steve Jannetti at (417)-402-5564 if interested.
A family in Hermann wishes to give an electronic organ in good condition away to a parish that can put it to good use. It is a Wurlitzer Concert Organ, Model 4700, with two manuals, a full pedalboard and a bench. It is 62 inches wide and 48 inches tall. Photos available upon request. Write to email@example.com or call 573-486-2633 for information.
Share in bulletins, emails, social media, and websites
Catholic Charities is offering Nutrition Education for Mid-Missouri residents through a free, six-week session on Tuesdays, 5-6 pm, over Zoom from Aug. 3 – Sept. 7. Those interested may register with Erin Perry, who serves at Catholic Charities as an AmeriCorps member, at firstname.lastname@example.org or online at https://forms.gle/wrs8Vt3Bikw5P6oFA.
Please remember to let parishioners know about our updated Safe Environment requirements. You can use the bulletin graphics in our parish graphics folder to promote our policies. (We’re still working on the Spanish language versions, thank you for your patience!)
Wondering about whether you might be called to participate in the Seven Sisters Apostolate of prayer for priests? From the perspective of Father Jeremy Secrist, one recipient of these committed prayers: “Thank you for the invitation to compose a small token of gratitude for the new Seven Sisters Apostolate here at St. Peter Church. In the ordination rite to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, among the seven promises made by the ordinandi is a promise to be committed to prayer. The bishop asks the man to be ordained: Do you resolve to implore with us God’s mercy upon the people entrusted to your care by observing the command to pray without ceasing? I am very grateful to the Seven Sisters Prayer Apostolate that as the people of God are daily remembered in my personal prayers and the Liturgy of Holy Mother Church, so too prayers are intentionally being offered on my behalf as an unworthy servant in the service of the Lord and His people.” Questions? www.SevenSistersApostolate.org or SevenSistersJeffCity@gmail.com
St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish in Columbia is seeking a full-time receptionist/secretary. The ideal candidate will provide a welcoming and friendly face, work with varying populations including college students and families, and have excellent communication skills. They should also have a strong grasp of technology, including the ability to learn and manage the parish database. Compensation will be commensurate with experience and education and includes full benefits. The job requires performing general receptionist functions including greeting and referring visitors, receiving and transferring telephone calls, taking messages, handling Mass intentions, Columbarium sales, sorting and distributing mail and performing general clerical work such as ordering and maintaining office supplies. Duties include scheduling facilities, photocopying and duplicating materials, updating and handling of sacramental records, learn and manage the parish database, and most responsibilities related to parking lot permit sales. Benefits include: health insurance, matching retirement, vacation/sick leave, holiday pay, no nights/weekends. Typical schedule is M-F 8am-4:30pm with a half hour lunch break. Apply by sending resume to the pastor, Fr. Dan Merz, at email@example.com.
The Diocese of Jefferson City is seeking an experienced Administrative Assistant to support the Director of Parish and Charitable Services. This position not only provides administrative support, but is closely aligned with direct ministry; therefore, the individual will need to have a good knowledge of the Catholic faith in order to be successful. In addition to excellent organizational and Microsoft office skills, the ideal candidate will need to be available for occasional evening and weekend work. We estimate this to be approximately 12 times a year. This is a full-time, year-round position. The Diocese of Jefferson City offers a comprehensive benefit package including paid holidays, paid vacation and sick days, group health, dental, and vision insurance, a flexible spending account and matching 403(b) retirement plan. Qualified candidates should apply on Indeed.com and complete the skills assessment.
The Chancery has an opening for a part-time Wellness Case Coordinator. The Wellness Case Coordinator serves as an advocate for priests and deacons within the Diocese of Jefferson City. This individual is responsible for educating priests and permanent deacons so that they can take care of their own health, and if needed, can act as an advocate and liaison between the priest/deacon and their medical provider(s). This is a part-time, virtual position with some travel within the diocese. The ideal candidate will be a RN, LPN or Nurse Case Manager with a Missouri state nursing license, or a social worker with healthcare experience. Candidates are encouraged to send a letter of interest and resume to HRDir@diojeffcity.org.
St. Peter Catholic Church in Jefferson City is seeking an Organist/Director of Music and Liturgy. The primary functions of the Organist and Director of Music are to assure, direct and facilitate the continuous quality of the music ministry and to assist the Pastor in directing the liturgical functions at St. Peter Parish. For a detailed description please go to www.saintpeterjc.org/employment
Our Catholic schools are hiring! Go to diojeffcity.org/employment-in-our-catholic-schools/ to learn more!