On the Nativity of the Mother of God website, Father Richard Janowicz, pastor of the Ukrainian Catholic parish in Springfield, offers a uniquely Catholic reflection on wearing masks.

Noting that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has ordered the use of masks, face coverings or shields for all people who are inside buildings open to the public, he asks parishioners to do so at the church.

Parishioners are asked to bring their own masks, but there are some at the church for those who need them.

“I understand this is not pleasant for anyone, but I ask that you consider the welfare of your fellow parishioners as the virus continues to spread in Oregon,” Father Janowicz writes.

The priest writes pragmatically that wearing masks can help keep churches open — and yet his prayers have led him to a more spiritual viewpoint.

“I suggest that we wear our masks in a spirit of penance for our sins and for the sins of our nation, and we offer this as a sacrifice to the Lord, especially when we put them on as we gather together to pray — to make this specific intention to the Lord. The priest and deacon say certain prayers when putting on vestments. Let us also have a prayerful intention when putting on the mask for worship.

“This is not a great sacrifice, but it is still a sacrifice. As we offer this small penance to the Lord, let us specifically be aware of the words that come out of our mouths in sin, and ask his help to convert them to words of sincere worship, expressions of gratitude and Christian encouragement to others, especially those most in need. Let our masks even become a reminder that our first thought should not be about a virus, but about the divine physician, the healer of bodies and souls.

“And perhaps we can also hold to this thought: If we can do it for Costco, we can do it for Christ. Thank you for your continued cooperation and your faithfulness!”