We continue to operate under the scourge of COVID-19. Fortunately, there had been some lifting of restrictions which allowed for a more human and humane interaction. Unfortunately, what was temporarily gained has now been lost again. While there is certainly a danger in making contact with our fellow inhabitants of this world there is also a danger in not making contact. I have said over the past months that we must be concerned for human life and so we cooperate with social distancing, masking and hygiene. This is something which your pastors and I have spent a great deal of time preparing for and discussing. We have shown and continue to show a great respect and reverence for human physical health and human physical life.

At the same time, as a Church, we must be equally, if not more, concerned about true human flourishing. This flourishing, which includes such things as practice of our faith, reception of sacraments and ‘live’ communal prayer was ‘put on hold’ for several months. This was and is a cause for distress and suffering. In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth and after he created man, He said, “it is not good for man to be alone”. While this certainly refers to the beauty of marriage, it also refers to the social nature of all people. We are not made to be alone.

We can and must follow proper health protocols but we can never forget that, as human beings, human persons, there is more to us than simply physical bodies and emotional experiences. We are persons created in the image and likeness of God. We have immortal souls.

Now we face the possibility that our children will not be permitted to attend ‘live’ school when schools are due to open in August. The need for these children to be in contact with the friends in the safe environment of the school cannot simply be set aside. This need for social contact is real. The need for isolation to avoid COVID spread is likewise real. Answers are not easy.

I pray, as we plan again to move to expanded freedom, that all of you are kept safe, that you exercise prudence and good judgment and that you can re-establish your necessary connection with each other and with the Church. We have been consoled over the past months in the knowledge that we have never been totally disconnected from Christ but we have not been totally connected with him either. I do not believe that Jesus would be contented with an internet connection and it will be good to have a ‘Real’ connection again….

The above comes from a July 21 release from the Santa Rosa diocese.