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A few weeks ago, if someone told me the Catholic church would hold Masses where the public could not attend, I would not have believed them. After all, this is the church — the place where we gather with family, friends and neighbors weekly. But, as all of you well know, the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to that.

While many parishioners miss attending Mass and worshipping together, Queen of the Apostles Parish has added an extra tool to its social media toolbox to reach the community and maintain a spiritual connection.

By visiting Facebook or YouTube and typing “Queen of the Apostles Parish, Avoca, PA” in the search box, you can access Sunday Masses dating back to March 29, including all of the Holy Week services. Originally, the parish planned to record and post Masses only while in-person Masses are not allowed. However, the parish is planning to continue the service in the post-pandemic era. This will enable people who may not be able to attend Mass in person, the opportunity to stay connected with their home parish.

To watch Mass from Queen of the Apostles Parish, you can visit its Facebook page at 10 a.m. Sundays to watch it live or to watch it at a later time. You also can watch it at your convenience on YouTube. The video of the Mass posted to YouTube includes enhanced sound, graphics, music and the text of select prayers which view better on smart TVs.

Food pantry

Avoca Food Pantry will be open at 4 p.m. Thursdays, May 7 and 21, at Bethel United Methodist Church, 532 Main St. Food can be picked up in the rear entry of the building. Volunteers are needed to unload and distribute food at 1:30 p.m.

For information, please call Jim at 570-921-9899.

Home improvement contest

Avoca Community Committee’s Stay at Home Improvement contest offers residents an opportunity to showcase their outdoor home improvement projects which they have completed within the last few weeks up to Monday, May 18. Some project ideas include sprucing up your porch, planting flowers, creating a garden or other creative ways to beautify your yard.

Entrants are asked to take before and after photos of their projects. Winners will be announced Friday, May 22, and receive cash prizes through the generosity of an anonymous resident.

For details, private message the Avoca Community Committee Facebook page.

State of emergency

Avoca Borough is still operating under a state of emergency. The municipal building is closed until further notice, as are the Avoca Community Center, Plane Street Park and Memorial Park.

Anyone who needs to do business with the borough should call the municipal building at 570-457-4947 and leave a message. Calls will be returned as soon as possible.

For non-emergency police department issues, please call 570-457-4011. For emergencies, always dial 911.

Trash and tax payments

The refuse fee for 2020 to have up to three bags collected weekly will remain at $175 through June 21.

Residents cannot pay the county/municipal taxes or refuse fee at the municipal building.