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  • Writer's pictureFrank Finamore

From Frank... | May 21

With COVID restrictions loosening up, more of us are thinking about resuming in-person activities. As I shift my mindset around going out again, I am conscious of my own hesitancy to do so, and am reminded of an experience I had when I served as an altar boy in the 1970s. I served as one of about 100 altar servers under the direction of Mr. Van Parys who perhaps taught me more about leadership than any coach, teacher or graduate-school professor ever did. Anyone who could facilitate that many boys (and we were only altar boys back then) to complete a task, earned my respect. But I digress. In 1977, at the Easter Vigil Mass, I was an altar server and was in line with about fifty or so other altar servers – most of us carrying large candles. Behind me was the ever-hyperactive Michael Kornacki also holding his candle. We were all decked out in our red cassocks and white surplices and it wasn’t long before Michael turned around to talk to his buddy, only to have his candle lean forward and ignite my surplice on fire. I was unaware of the fire on my shoulder, and Michael started hitting me to put the fire out. Thinking it was his usual antics, I moved out of his reach only to then have the growing flame reach my then-in-style, longer, feathered hair! The flames were quickly extinguished and I was thankfully unharmed, but I gained some notoriety among the congregation for a bit. The frightening experience left me skittish and not wanting to get back in a line holding a candle for a while. However, over time, with Mr. Van Parys’s guidance and encouragement, but mostly by following my own instincts and knowing my own comfort levels, I did return to serve as an altar boy again, just not in front of anyone with the last name of Kornacki (as Michael had many, equally as hyperactive brothers!)

New DC Mask Guidance Announced

Beginning today, Mayor Bowser announced that the city has lifted restrictions on “most public and commercial activities, and time restrictions,” And that “fully vaccinated people only need to wear masks or social distance in places where it is required.” Some of us may be struggling with embracing these new, relaxed rules, especially after having gone through what we have all gone through over the past year. That said, over time, by following our instincts and being aware of our own comfort levels, we can overcome our well-deserved fears.

For me, going out in public without a mask is a somewhat familiar feeling. I immediately feel the trepidation I remember having when trying to get back in line with my candle and the other altar servers. So I remind myself of how I responded to that trepidation and fear. I gave myself time and space. I followed my instincts, and I paid attention to my comfort levels. Over time, we will overcome our well-deserved trepidation and fears. If you have uncertainties about going out and have been staying within your home, even now fully vaccinated, your trepidation has good cause. My advice to you:

  • Give yourself time and space and take the steps you need, at the pace you need, to start re-engaging.

  • Find a safe, comfortable way to begin in-person activities – a stroll on the street or perhaps a visit with a fully vaccinated friend.

The Village will continue to offer virtual programming, but we will also begin to offer more in-person activities in line with all District and CDC health guidelines. We hope to create that space for our members to feel comfortable to engage with one another both virtually and in person.


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