Dear Friends of St. Andrew’s Abbey,
We have had several meetings to discern our ability to open again to the public for retreats and Masses. For many reasons, we have chosen conservative measures, despite our desire to share our life and monastery with the many who want to come.
The Abbey will remain closed to the public until further notice, most certainly until the end of September.
There are several reasons for this.
· The danger for our older monks is our primary reason for caution in face of the virus. Over half the monastic community are in the vulnerable age bracket. Living as close as we do, one Covid19 infection would certainly spread to others. Our sheltering in place for more than 2 months has preserved us so far, but opening at this time seems too risky to chance for our elders’ sake.
· The mandated guidelines would require us to limit overnight retreats to 10-12 persons only and to severely limit those who could attend daily or Sunday Mass or come as day visitors.
· Opening the Abbey chapel to only a few would necessitate excluding a much greater number of people who desire to come and pray with us as has always been possible. We are simply not able to be ready for the ‘new normal’ which would exclude other participants, daily guests and visitors; and this would certainly cause more disappointment and resentment than continuing to remain closed altogether.
· With the slow opening of churches within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, parishes are seeking guidelines and practical methods of welcoming only a few to parish Masses and other gatherings. We await their experience in this endeavor to assist us in knowing how and when we should consider opening the Abbey to a limited public with the hopes of returning to greater non-excluding hospitality in the future.
We pray for all our Oblates, friends, benefactors, retreatants, and those who have visited us in the past—awaiting that day that we can welcome you freely to any and all of the resources of this spiritual oasis.
God bless you,
Abbot Damien and the monastic community