Cathedral priests, staff under quarantine

The priests and staff at the Cathedral of the Incarnation are in quarantine after being exposed to another employee who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Father Ed Steiner, Cathedral pastor, sent two emails to parishioners on Wednesday, May 27, explaining the situation and outlining plans for the celebration of Mass while he and Associate Pastor Father Gervan Menezes are in quarantine.

“The employee is at home with only mild symptoms, and we pray it remains so!” Father Steiner wrote to parishioners. “This is not an employee with whom anyone who came to our weekend Masses would have had contact. However, we priests and most of our staff have had regular contact with the employee, and, therefore, we now must self-quarantine for 14 days.”

After he found out on Tuesday, May 26, that the employee tested positive for the virus, Father Steiner consulted several doctors about the risk to anyone who had attended Mass at the Cathedral the previous week. He was assured that anyone who had gone to Mass are no more at risk than they would be going to the grocery store, he said. “Putting me and Father Gervan in quarantine is out of an abundance of caution.”

Father Steiner and Father Menezes will be tested early next week. “If we test negative, (doctors) will set up a plan for us to celebrate public Masses with restrictions, the restrictions being absolute social distancing on the altar and not distributing communion or touching the hosts that will be distributed to the people,” Father Steiner said.

“If we should develop a temperature or think we have a symptom, we’re to get to the hospital right way for the purpose of getting tested,” he added. “I’ve polled everyone by phone and so far no one is showing any symptoms.”

While Fathers Steiner and Menezes are in quarantine they will continue to livestream the 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. weekday Masses.

Father Aby Thanickal, CMI, will celebrate the 12:10 p.m. weekday Mass, as well as the 5 p.m. Saturday, and 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday Masses. Bishop J. Mark Spalding will celebrate the 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday.