First, after speaking with the parish staff and some members of the pastoral council, I have sadly decided that the church and parish hall must be locked when they are not in use. I know that this will be a hardship for some of you, but, unfortunately, not everybody who comes into a church does so with good intentions. There has been an increase in vandalism to churches recently, including here in Southern Oregon. I am not aware of any people who have been threatened but I’d prefer to err on the side of caution rather than have something happen here.
I am sure that some of you will contact me to point out that churches in Europe are often left open during the day. However, if you were to pay close attention while in those churches, you would find that many of them have security personnel or other staff keeping an eye on things; I know this from personal experience. We are looking into ways to provide access to a restroom for those who use the adoration chapel, but for now, the church and parish hall are going to be closed while not in use. The adoration chapel will continue to be available for prayer; please remember to wear face coverings and observe proper distancing while in the chapel.
The second security concern is that several times in the past few weeks, different members of the parish staff, including myself, have entered the church and parish hall to find that doors were left unlocked or open. Everyone who has been given the privilege of having a key to the parish buildings must make sure that they lock the doors and that the doors are securely fastened when they leave. And those who no longer have a need for their key are asked to turn them back in.
Finally, children must be under the supervision of their parents or guardians at all times when not participating in scheduled religious education or sacramental preparation classes. Children should not be allowed to run around in the parish buildings unsupervised; this is for their own safety.
If you see anything that is unsafe, please bring it to the attention of myself or a member of the parish staff. If there is an immediate dangerous emergency, dial 911 and ask the police for help. Thank you in advance for helping to keep our parish home safe and secure.
Father Brent Crowe