COVID Updates for St. Mary's Parish

August 13, 2021

Dear Friends,

The Virginia Department of Health issued new COVID safety guidelines this week.

Effective immediately, when our parish community gathers for the public celebration of the Eucharist, people who have been vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks while inside parish buildings. Those who have not been vaccinated are required to wear masks while attending Mass. 

During the Sign of Peace, we ask you to refrain from shaking hands with people who are not of your household.

Priests, deacons, and lectors will wear masks during the liturgy, except when they are speaking (e.g. when they are reading the Scriptures, preaching, or leading prayer). Eucharistic ministers will sanitize their hands prior to the distribution of Communion. We are not required to return to the practice of strict social distancing at this time, but parishioners are free to 'spread out' within the church to make maximum use of our large seating area. 

Other diocesan policies remain in place, including the policy which states that we will not ask for or require proof of vaccination for any person. Nor will we require proof of medical exemption for those who do not wear masks.

We recognize that some members of the parish may be frustrated by these updated policies, and other parishioners may be encouraged by them. As a community founded on the virtues of Christian charity and hospitality, we will work together to protect one another's well-being, and do so in a spirit of mutual respect and love. For additional information, you may read the latest information on the web page for the Diocese of Richmond:

https://richmonddiocese.org/

May God bless you and your loved ones.

In Christ,
Fr. Michael Renninger
Pastor