Covid-19 is a very serious virus, as you all know. It has affected all our lives and every family here has been impacted by it—everyday we worry about loved ones and their health.
Even our own Catholic family has been touched by this PANDEMIC. As you may have heard, Bishop Kevin Vann is now recovering from Covid-19 and Fr. Brandon Dang, who is “a priest in residence at SEAS”, has tested positive. They are both in quarantine and doing well, thanks be to God. Please keep them in your prayers.
On a personal note, before entering the priesthood, I am a biologist by training. I know full well how infections work and how serious this is. I have complete confidence in our staff, who are so devoted, and whom I trained well to keep you safe all this time. Therefore, I want to assure you that, ever since the first day of COVID SHUTDOWN, Fr. Brandon and I maintain separate living spaces; we do not share any common areas; we do not dine together; I do not use the kitchen or living room; we work on very different schedules, so we have very limited interactions, and we are always wearing masks, even in our living quarters. As you may know, Fr. Brandon doesn’t have any office space at SEAS, but works at the Diocesan Offices. I have recently tested negative for Covid-19 and will continue to test regularly to give you confidence in my health and your safety. Based upon all of these facts, and after consulting with Bishop Tim Freyer and Msgr. Steve Doktorczyk, V.G., I will continue my pastoral duties here at SEAS, with careful assessment on a day-to-day basis.
Please remember: your health and safety are most important to me. If you do not feel comfortable attending Mass here or at any parish in the diocese, due to fear of possibly catching Covid-19, you may avail yourself of the dispensation from attending Mass, which has been in effect since late February. You may watch live-stream Mass and/or do another pious activity for at least thirty minutes on Sunday. SEAS will continue to implement all required protocols to help keep you safe as possible as we celebrate mass outdoors. We must practice safe distancing from each other, always wear masks, hand-wash and sanitize. It is important to get through this with good health protocols until we can all get our vaccines, which are coming soon, perhaps in a few months.
We endeavor to be as faithful to CDC guidelines and those of the OC Health Agency. While the reality of exposure to COVID-19 maybe remote with the outdoor masses here, out of an abundance of caution, any parishioners who came for confessions last Saturday, December 12th and/or attended the 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday, December 13th, with Fr. Brandon, may wish to be tested.
As we are approaching Christmas this week, we give thanks to our wonderful community here at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Please join me in prayer for Father Brandon’s speedy recovery as well as for all victims impacted by COVID-19 and their families.
Peace and Blessings,
Fr. Paul Trinh