Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I’m sure many of you joined with me in listening carefully to Governor Ducey’s presentation on Arizona’s response to the pandemic. While there was some positive data provided in his presentation he has nevertheless extended our State’s current protocols for another two weeks. I believe his approach is both prudent and thoughtful, especially as it takes into serious consideration the concerns of the Center for Disease Control as well as local medical experts. For this reason there will be no change to the protocols at the parishes of the Diocese of Tucson at this time. However, should the positive trend in data related to the pandemic continue then I believe it is reasonable to anticipate some initial changes to our protocols beginning in mid-May. Let us pray that the data continues to move in the right direction!
While I’m sure that all of us are anxious to return to our parish churches in person, be assured that any decision to lessen our protocols will be informed by professional advice from medical personnel. I am very attentive to the fact that we are asking doctors, nurses, first-responders and others to put themselves at considerable risk to keep us safe. Social distancing has proven effective. Despite our frustration and not being able to gather in person for Mass, I believe that continuing the current protocols for just a little longer is the least we can do for those on the front lines.
In the meanwhile, as you cannot quite yet come to Church, let Church continue to come to you in the many ways made possible by our clergy in recent weeks.
May God bless you.
+ Edward J. Weisenburger, Bishop of Tucson