Welcome to St. Columbkille Parish
August 10, 2018
Dear St. Columbkille Parish Family,
I have good news to report to everyone. The second set of test results from the Board of Health and the additional testing from our environmental expert, EA Group, have come back negative. Although the Board of Health’s testing indicated the presence of non-viable legionella bacteria (dead cells) in the basement drinking fountain, the Board of Health has explained that legionella can naturally occur in freshwater environments and that the drinking fountain may remain in service. I am also happy to report that no new cases of legionnaires disease involving St. Columbkille parishioners have been reported to the Board of Health in over one month now. Also, the Board of Health and our own experts continue to assure us that, with the air conditioning off, the church poses no identifiable risk for legionella.
Work remains to be done, however, as we are working to implement all the Board of Health recommendations which we just received yesterday. Following those recommendations, we will:
· Continue to keep the air conditioning in the church turned off.
· Continue to work with Osborn Engineering, the experts we have engaged, to address the Board of Health’s concerns regarding the location, design, operation, and maintenance of the cooling tower.
· Work with Osborn Engineering to develop an appropriate water management plan for our parish facilities.
This has been a challenging time for our parish, and I understand that anxiety and concern has kept many parishioners away from participating in the sacramental life of our parish. However, I want to encourage those of you who have stayed away to come back. The Gospel assures us that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out all fear.” 1 John 4:18. I believe, as your shepherd and friend, that it is time to come together as a community to support each other and our parish staff as we continue to work to ensure that our church is a safe and comfortable environment in which to pray, worship, and draw closer to our Lord Jesus. I can also tell you that your support and presence here, particularly at mass, is a great comfort for me personally and a great sign of your support for our parish. Please know that all of our Masses are being celebrated as scheduled and we have not canceled any of our masses because of the heat. Welcome home and invite others to come back!
Know that I am committed to your safety and will continue to keep you updated on the situation. I am passionate about making our parish a welcoming environment where parishioners and visitors alike encounter the Lord Jesus Christ and are formed into lifelong disciples. Please call or email me at the rectory if you have any questions or concerns. Never forget, the Lord is with us, always!
Sincerely in Christ,
Father Anthony Suso, Pastor
An update on reported cases of Legionnaires Disease involving St. Columbkille parishioners
Latest testing results negative
St. Columbkille Parish received notification on August 8 that the results of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s latest round of legionella testing of samples from various sources in the church building, including the air handling units, a drinking fountain in the basement, and hand sinks came back negative for the presence of viable legionella. Although the test indicated the presence of non-viable legionella bacteria (dead cells) in the basement drinking fountain, the Board of Health has explained that legionella can naturally occur in freshwater environments and that the drinking fountain may remain in service. Additionally, there have been no new reported legionella cases involving St. Columbkille parishioners.
As a proactive measure, the parish has already engaged Osborn Engineering to conduct a thorough review of the church’s air conditioning system and to advise the parish regarding the implementation of the Board of Health’s recommendations. Osborn Engineering is a recognized expert in this field with expertise and experience in the management of legionella.
Following the Board of Health’s request, the church building air conditioning will remain out of service until the parish has addressed the Board of Health’s recommendations. After consultation with the Board of Health, Mass and other parish activities continue to go on uninterrupted and plans are on track for the regularly scheduled opening of the school later this month.
St. Columbkille Parish is committed to the safety of its parishioners and all who may visit the parish. As such, the parish is grateful to the Board of Health for their careful review and testing work, and for their guidance and collaboration in ensuring a safe environment for all. Going forward, the parish will continue to work closely with its consulting experts and provide updates to the Board of Health.