Based on recently-released guidance from the CDC, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Diocese of Richmond, Saint Mary’s Parish is happy to announce important updates concerning COVID restrictions at our church:
AS OF SATURDAY, MAY 29:
- it is no longer necessary for anyone to pre-register to attend Mass at St. Mary’s. You are welcome to attend any Mass at any time.
- parishioners may enter for Mass thru the main front Church doors, or thru the doors on the lower level near the church offices. (doors to the ECDC will remain locked thru the end of the school year)
- social distancing norms will no longer be in effect in the parish church, Commons or parish offices
- people attending Mass will seat themselves in any available pew
- parishioners may linger in the Upper Commons for conversation before and after Masses (beverage service will be reintroduced on the Sunday following Father’s Day)
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THE FOLLOWING COVID REGULATIONS WILL CONTINUE TO BE FOLLOWED UNTIL ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE IS RECEIVED FROM THE CDC:
- fully vaccinated persons are not required to wear masks in the church, Commons or office areas. Those who are NOT fully vaccinated (ages 5 and up) must continue to wear a mask. The parish will NOT inquire about the vaccination status of those who come to Mass.
- at the sign of peace, you should only shake hands with those who are of your same household
- we will continue to distribute Communion in the form of the consecrated Host only. We will restore the distribution of the Precious Blood once we receive new guidance from the Diocese.
- we will continue to have baskets available for your financial donations in the Commons. We will not ‘pass the basket’ during Mass at this time.
As of May 29, the updated parish schedule is as follows:
CONFESSIONS: Saturday from 3:30 to 4:30 in the Daily Mass Chapel
SATURDAY EVENING MASS: 5:30 (doors open at 4:30)
SUNDAY MASSES: 9:00 and 11:00 AM (doors open Sunday morning at 8:30)
DAILY MASS: Tuesday thru Friday at 9:00 AM in the Church
CHURCH OFFICE HOURS: Monday thru Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
CHURCH OPEN FOR PERSONAL PRAYER: Monday thru Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Update on the “Obligation to Attend Sunday Mass”
During the COVID pandemic, bishops around the world lifted the obligation for Catholics to attend Mass on the weekends. This was a pastoral response to an extraordinary public health situation, and the bishops wanted Catholics to have the freedom to make well-informed decisions about their own health, especially as that related to personal participation in public Masses.
Bishop Knestout has announced that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will expire as of the morning of June 26, 2021. Moving forward, Catholics are once again under the obligation to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays and Holy Days. Please note the following language from Bishop Knestout’s recent statement:
"This obligation (to personally attend Sunday Mass) does not apply to those who are ill; those who have reason to believe that they were recently exposed to the coronavirus, another serious or contagious illness; those who are confined to their home, a hospital, or nursing facility; or those with serious underlying health conditions. One should consult his or her local pastor if questions arise about the obligation to attend Mass (Canon 1245 and the Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 2181)."
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Fr. Renninger at the parish office (740-4044).
During this time of transition, both the CDC and the Commonwealth of Virginia are providing numerous updates and adjusted guidelines. Once the Diocese provides specific guidance to the parishes, we will implement those changes and communicate them through the daily email and the parish web page.
In the weeks ahead, we will continue to respect one another’s personal decisions concerning the wearing of masks. Each parishioner must make an informed decision about how and when they will return to the public celebration of the Eucharist, and we will respect each other’s informed decisions about these important matters.
Now that the social distancing norms have been adjusted, parents should note that the Upper Commons is available as a space where children can be taken if they need some time to refocus during the liturgy. In the weeks ahead, we will announce a timeline for the re-start of Children’s Liturgy of the Word during Sunday Masses, and the re-opening of the Nursery. Altar servers will return after a period of retraining has occurred.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Fr. Renninger at the parish offices: [email protected].