Email Update from August 26, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Perhaps you have heard about the recent “super surge” of the Covid Delta variant in Minnesota youth. Currently, local hospitals have been overwhelmed and are out of beds for the really sick children. They are attempting to divert patients that require hospitalization to Bismarck or other outstate hospitals. At this time, it is not known how this will affect the adult population, including those who have already been exposed to Covid and recovered, or have completed a vaccination series.
As additional information becomes available, CCR leadership will attempt to keep members informed. At this time, here are our current guidelines:
- Our recommendations will generally follow the Archdiocesan Covid guidelines (https://www.archspm.org/covid19/) and look for additional information from the Minnesota Department of Health.
- Each household should determine their own level of risk tolerance for possible Covid infection, as this situation continues to unfold. That is, as a household, you may elect to attend events in person or remotely, when available. You may also choose to require your household members to wear masks and socially distance, where appropriate.
- CCR will attempt to limit the spread of Covid at our events by taking specific precautions. These includes having events outside whenever possible, encouraging individuals to wear masks while indoors, and making sanitizer readily available. Any individual who is feeling sick or has flu-like symptoms is asked to stay home from events.
- We are encouraging members to call the office if someone within your household develops Covid, and to allow us to notify the Community in this regard. As a body, we would like to be able to pray for these people and help notify recent close contacts. At larger CCR events there will be a designated staff member who you are asked to call.
These continue to be challenging times, but these events also offer each of us an opportunity to love better, in forbearance, charity, patience, and humility. We are of His making, and He will continue to guide us through this storm.
God bless you and yours.
CCR Coordinators and Women’s Leadership
Email Update from May 28, 2021
CCR Covid Committee May 2021 Recommendations:
Current State: Effective on 5/28, MN has aligned with CDC guidelines. These guidelines include:
- Masks are no longer required for fully-vaccinated individuals, either indoors or outside.
- Minnesotans who are not fully vaccinated are strongly recommended to wear face coverings indoors.
- Private businesses and local municipalities may still put in place face covering requirements
should follow CDC guidance and wear masks in medical settings and on public
transportation, whether or not they are fully vaccinated.
- Minnesota’s Safe
Learning Plan, along with the existing face covering guidance for schools and
child care settings, remain in effect.
- Vaccinated or not vaccinated, the MN Department of Health strongly recommends that everyone:
- Wash their hands often.
- Follow guidance on staying home (quarantine) if you were exposed to someone who has COVID19. People who are fully vaccinated may not need to quarantine in many situations. See Quarantine Guidance for COVID-19 (www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/quarguide.pdf) for more details.
- Stay home if they are sick.
- Follow testing recommendations for when they travel, have COVID-19 symptoms, or are exposed to COVID-19. Visit COVID-19 Testing (www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/testsites/index.html) for information about who should get tested and how to get a test.
- From the MN Staysafe.gov website:
- Unvaccinated people: The Minnesota Department of Health strongly recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated, including children, wear face coverings when gathering indoors with members of other households, or outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained. For more information, visit MDH Face Covering Requirements and Recommendations.
- People who are not vaccinated should still stay home and away from others when waiting for test results or have been identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19. For more information, visit MDH: Close Contacts & Tracing.
- Fully vaccinated people may be able to gather without masks and social distancing in specific settings. For more information, visit About COVID-19 Vaccine.
- Individuals, either unvaccinated or vaccinated, who have any symptoms of illness, should not attend social gatherings. For more information, visit MDH: If You Are Sick.
- On May 14th, the Archdiocesan Office of Worship sent a memo: “Revised Liturgical Guidelines: ‘Safely Sunsetting’ without Masks”. Key points include:
- Pastors should determine suitable guidelines for his own parish.
- Those fully vaccinated need no longer wear facemasks at church and those not vaccinated are safer if they continue to wear facemasks. Individuals who are more comfortable wearing a facemask may continue to do so.
- Vulnerable persons and those caring for them should stay safe and attend nonobligatory gatherings only to the extent that you and those you care for judge the risk of infection to be low.
- Do what you are comfortable doing. You may always practice more restrictive facemask and social distance standards than are required.
- Vaccines are still recommended as they help achieve herd immunity and are now available for those as young as 12.
- Vaccines are accessible except for children under the age of 12. Studies show the vaccines are currently protecting against known Covid variant strains, decreasing the spread of infection including asymptomatic infection, and decreasing severe infection if infected. A significantly increased community vaccination rate is the main reason face-coverings and social distancing are no longer required.
- Cases and deaths have decreased however those now being hospitalized with severe Covid are predominately in the middle-age range.
- Consistent with the MN state governmental decisions plus the May 14th Archdiocesan memo, face-coverings are no longer required for indoor CCR gatherings. This includes including Overall Community, District and Koinonia gatherings.
- The state guidelines still strongly recommend face-coverings indoors for those that are not vaccinated.
- Pastoral groups should continue to function as previously discussed with sensitivity to individual group situations while prioritizing charity and in-person meetings.
- Unvaccinated individuals at higher risk for serious infection should take greater personal precautions.
- Continue to livestream events for those who cannot attend for any reason.
- Vaccines are recommended by the CDC, MN Department of Health, MN Medical Association, and this is reiterated in the diocesan memo.
- Please stay home if you or someone in your house has a significant illness that appears contagious. (Think: “Would you want to sit next to them at an event?”)
- No restrictions remain for singing.
- Children and Youth events should follow the state and diocesan recommendations.
- Continue to offer charity and love and do not judge what you do not know.
- Social distancing is still expected indoors until 5/28.
Email Update from April 20, 2021
CCR Event 2021 Spring Covid Guidelines:
A quick assessment in Spring 2021 includes the following:
- Overall new cases of Covid have decreased from the peak but are rising again, including variants.
- The governor and archbishop have decreased restrictions but even though allowing home events, recommends against them and recommends masks and social distancing.
- Strong divergent opinions on how to approach this time within CCR continues and relationships and unity have been affected.
- Home inside gatherings at the larger state level continue to be a major source of continued spread.
- Vaccines are making a difference and are showing a significant ability to decrease asymptomatic aerosol spread which is the predominant mode of infection.
- Variants will continue to be a concern and vaccine protection from them is unclear but likely helpful.
- Covid infection is believed to provide immunity for at least 9 months.
Key guiding principles for CCR include:
- Live a holy life. Show mercy and turn toward each other; seek to understand.
- Live a common way of life as brothers and sisters. This includes decisions that best allow us to meet together in-person.
- Live a life of disciples on mission which includes our daily witness.
- In the words of Pope Francis, care well for those at the margins.
As we look at how to navigate this time forward which has no roadmap, it seems apparent we must do our best to give clear guidance that reflects the above. We must all help move away from what leads to disunity and encourage healing where fractures have arisen. Our key decisions are:
- 1. Pastoral group meetings in homes should follow these protocols:
- a. Meeting together in-person is a priority.
- b. Continue to follow the governor’s limits on number of guests.
- c. When meeting inside, masks and social distancing are still recommended c/w the governor’s decisions.
- d. Social distancing is recommended when meeting outside c/w the governor’s decisions. Masks should be brought and used when social distancing is not reliable.
- e. Groups may decide to not wear masks based on their individual situations where full agreement is present, unless otherwise restricted by the governor.
- f. When full agreement is not present, a majority opinion should not be the major criteria. Pastoral workers should prioritize caring for those at greatest health risk in a way that allows all to be present. This may vary from requiring all to mask, or only those at greatest risk or concern, or using zoom options, or meeting outside. True risks and exceptions should guide these situations and not principled positions regarding mask use, or not.
- g. Meeting outside is encouraged when feasible.
- h. Zoom options should be available but are no longer the preferred option.
- 2. Singing: Praise, worship and singing at CCR events including Mass may occur without further restrictions other than masking and voice restraint.
Email Update from March 17, 2021
- We approved in our January Winter 2021 guidelines that pastoral group meetings in homes would follow the governor's decisions. With the loosing of restrictions this past Friday, we can follow his relaxation immediately. Given this principle, pastoral group meetings in homes may resume indoors for up to 15 individuals. Masking and 6’ distancing is still expected.
- District and OGCG gatherings may resume without a specific number limit on attendance but must meet 6” distancing requirements plus proper face masks. The only limits that will remain in place are venue limits to accommodate the 6" distancing requirements.
- For all CCR sanctioned events, which include pastoral groups, masks, and social distancing are still expected c/w the governor’s guidelines.
- Congregational singing is now allowed with no time limit or song limit as long as masks are worn and there is proper airflow. This includes worship at all CCR events and during the regular times of the liturgies. (Hymns/Songs at usual times, Gloria, mass parts, etc.) The encouragement for restraint still applies.
- It seems food is still restricted depending on the venue. We are going to stick with the option to serve prepacked food at events of up to 40 people if the venue allows for it. NET recently lifted this restriction, so we can now serve pre-packaged food at the NET Center.
- As more people in the general public and community get vaccinated, we anticipate further adjustments will become possible.
Email Update from February 19, 2021
Singing as part of praise and worship may resume at events with the following expectations:
- Voice restraint is practiced to minimize expelling more aerosol than necessary during participation;
- At least 6-foot social distancing of non-household members;
- Proper fitting masks covering the mouth and nose are utilized. Face shields may not be substituted.
- The total time of singing is limited to a cumulative time of approximately 15” or 3 songs.
- Proper masks should be available at the entry for those who need one along with hand sanitizer.
The YES retreat travel recommendations were supported with the following key points:
- Despite the attempts at maintaining infection safety, the YES Retreat should be viewed as a high-risk event when parents make their decisions. Social distancing and mask use will be unreliable.
- The car/van rides will be the highest risk periods. The length of travel time even with masks will make protection from infection unlikely if someone is asymptomatically infected. Therefore, we are not requiring mask use in cars/vans. They should of course be utilized at all stops and locations.
- An individual who has viral symptoms, or lives with someone who has covid-like symptoms, should stay home.
- We recommend the Youth Group leadership consider requiring covid testing of staff and participants shortly before the trip for all individuals. This will help prevent an asymptomatic individual from infecting multiple van companions and from spreading infection throughout the retreat. Given the size of CCR’s youth group, we believe this is also a prudent responsibility toward the other communities.
Email Update from January 19, 2021
HERE you will find the revised covid protocols, to help guide our community events and group meetings for the next period of time. We are grateful to the covid task force for their continued work in advising the community in this important area. We are grateful that we are able to once again meet in some limited ways. As we move forward and demonstrate our ability to follow these protocols, we would look forward to a continual loosening of restrictions by both civil and church authorities. Let’s all do our part to stick together in love.
We know this is a challenging time for many of our brothers and sisters. We know that there are a wide variety of opinions about the reality of the pandemic, the seriousness of the virus, the purpose and authority of government during a crisis, and the nature of personal liberty versus the common good. As leaders in the community, we know we can’t satisfy all our members’ concerns, nor answer all their questions. We hope that you know, as your brothers and sisters, we are trying our best.
The attached protocols are our best assessment of what should guide our interactions at this stage of the pandemic. Like everyone else, we are eager to see life return to a more normal pattern of in-person gatherings and group meetings. We all miss worshiping the Lord together in song and we ask for your continued patience in this vital area of our life as we return to in-person meetings.
As we review the protocols recommended by the task force, there are a few overarching principles that guide our thinking. They are listed in the document. Let us highlight two.
First, we have to take a concern for the overall community membership. While individual members may make their own personal decisions in regards to their personal life, we have to take a more cautious approach when it comes to the whole community. We are charged to care for the whole flock and not just individual people. What protocols will allow the largest number of members to safely gather/interact has to be a major factor in our decision-making. With the arrival of the vaccine, we are hoping that our more vulnerable members can receive the vaccination and more safely re-engage with our life together.
Secondly, we believe we have some moral responsibility as a Christian body to do what we can to slow the spread of the virus in the broader social community to which we all belong. By our cooperation with the civil authorities and Church leadership, we are acknowledging that we have a social responsibility to help all people get through this crisis, even if it involves some cost to ourselves. Helping to stop the spread of the virus is one important way we express our prolife values.
We are grateful for your support, patience, and perseverance during these difficult times.
The Executive Committee on behalf of the Council of Coordinators
Click to view CCR Youth Night Covid Protocols - 2020/21
Email Update from November 17, 2020
Brothers & Sisters,
I'm sure that you are aware of Governor Walz’s recent press conference detailing new restrictions to slow down the spread of COVID. We have seen a dramatic spike in COVID positive cases statewide as well as within CCR.
Governor Walz's new orders went into effect this past Friday, Nov. 13. Our COVID Task Force has looked over the orders and proposed an updated set of guidelines to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee has reviewed and approved the proposal. We have sent it on to the Council of Coordinators and the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) for their input. We have asked for them to review and respond to the proposal by this coming Friday. From there, we will get out a set of updated guidelines.
In the meantime, due to recent spikes in COVID positive cases as well as the high number of people self-isolating due to exposure, we want to address a couple of changes that will take effect as of today:
For the time being, all pastoral groups should plan on meeting via Zoom.
Following our Chaplain’s recommendations, we are canceling our Thanksgiving & Christmas Mass. CCR members should plan on attending their local parish Mass.
For the time being, we are temporarily suspending all CCR in-person youth activities and programs while our youth team meets to develop a plan that allows our youth to safely meet.
Upcoming District Events should be virtual.
We do have a plan in place to hold the Women's Advent Gathering in person, please keep this event on your calendar. (update: it is now virtual.)
Once we hear back from the Coordinators and the WLC, we will address more of our upcoming events.
We understand that these moves will create some pastoral challenges and encourage all of us to use the pastoral system to help navigate questions and concerns. Make good use of your group leaders, your group supervisors, and your district teams.
Please continue to keep CCR in your prayers and we work to navigate this season.
CCR Executive Committee
Past Update from September 2020
Our doctor led task force has provided the following perspective on covid realities:
“As we move into fall and winter and more indoor activities in our life together, the spread of COVID infections and complications will become a higher risk for our members. Recent evidence is showing:
Children are more likely to spread COVID than previously thought even though their risk of severe infection is low.
The greatest spreaders are now those in their 20’s-40’s.
Those at highest risk for severe disease continue to be those > 65 years old and those with significant underlying medical problems including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and significant lung problems.
Proper masks are highly beneficial in preventing transmission, especially when worn by both individuals who are relating. Of greatest benefit is the prevention of spread by an infected individual who is not showing symptoms (and who would thus still consider attending in person events and may unwittingly expose others to the virus).
Proper masks should be mandatory when any of the following conditions are met:
Anticipated close sustained interactions with less than 6 feet of physical distance;
Gathering in closed spaces such as meeting rooms and bathrooms without high ceilings or windows that can allow strong air exchange;
Gathering in crowded places with bottlenecking such as hallways, entryways and serving lines; or
Gatherings that involve more than 15 people. “
In consultation with our medical professionals, community leadership is promoting the following guidelines:
Following the governor's mandate, masks will be required for indoor CCR events including District Gatherings, General Community Gatherings, Masses, and all youth events. Those that have health exceptions for wearing masks are encouraged to use a face shield at events.
Community singing indoors remains not an option. We will continue to monitor this area closely so we can return to singing at the earliest time possible. Singing without a mask outside is possible if a physical distance of at least 10 feet can be maintained and there is some breeze. Absent either one of these two factors the meeting leader can ask everyone to please put their mask on.
Families or households should not attend events for at least 10 days if one of their members has one of the more common potential COVID symptoms (fever, significant cough, loss of taste or smell, difficulty breathing), or a positive test result.
Virtual options should be available for those at high risk who should not be present in person, and those that do not desire to wear a mask for other reasons.
Youth event guidelines will follow the Archdiocesan Static-Plus or Dynamic rules depending on the planned interactions of the participants. Please refer to the youth guidelines for further detail.
We strongly encourage pastoral groups to wear masks when meeting inside, but will leave the decision to the individual pastoral leaders asking them to do everything possible to bring unity to the group.