Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the winter months of New Jersey, there is a continual uncertainty as to what the weather may hold. Some years it seems as if we get snowstorm after snowstorm. Others years, there is nary a snowflake in the sky. But, given some of the recent forecasts and weather events of the last couple weeks, I think it’s worthwhile to review and go over what happens here at St. Charles when it snows.
In case there is snow during the work-week, namely Monday through Friday, the policy is that the parish follows the school. If there’s an early dismissal, then the parish office closes early too. If the school is closed, the parish office is closed as well. If there’s a delayed opening, then the parish follows that as well. In particular with Daily Mass, if the school is closed, then there is no public celebration of Mass that day. If the school is only delayed, Mass will be celebrated at the usual time of 9:00 AM, though parishioners should use their best judgment if travel is safe for them.
On the weekends, it gets slightly more fuzzy. Generally speaking, unless there’s an active State of Emergency, Mass will be offered at the usual times. But to be clear, in a State of Emergency, Mass will not be celebrated publicly. In other situations, every parishioner is invited to use their best judgment when travelling. If you’re uncomfortable being out in snow, then please stay home!
In broad strokes, that’s it. But I’d like to give just a little bit of context to why the snow policy is what it is. The overall concern on my part is the safety of all. I know many of us have a deep love for the gift of the Eucharist and it’s worthwhile to receive it frequently. However, to travel in snowy, icy conditions can be treacherous and sometimes we underestimate how difficult or dangerous it can be. If one of my parishioners were to get hurt while coming to Mass in bad conditions, it would greatly bother me. And so, rather than leave it up to chance, I’m more cautious in cancelling things when weather is involved. No one needs a car accident or a slip and fall in their lives.
There is another practical reason for closing the overall campus during the week and on the weekends. We use DY Snow Services for our plowing and sidewalk clearing and they do an excellent job. But they’re a busy company in a snowstorm and can’t always guarantee everything will be cleared for a particular Mass time. It’s to everyone’s benefit if there aren’t random cars in the parking lot or people using sidewalks while they’re plowing and clearing. And so, in the event of snow, please be safe and be smart. Pay attention to any closures that may occur here at St. Charles.
Peace and Goodness,