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How we worship together amidst a global Pandemic

Everywhere we go there are different requirements for what we can and cannot do due to the COVID Virus and its variants. St. Mary's is no different.  We have had many adjustments in protocol since March of 2020 and many more are yet to come. On this page you will be able to find thee latest for St. Mary's.  The Diocese of Pennsylvania keeps up with the CDC recommendations daily and makes adjustments to diocesan protocols periodically.  Below you can find the latest protocols but it's important to note, each worshiper has personal responsibility for their comfort level. St. Mary's is a diverse thinking community with a wide range of thoughts when it comes to COVID protocols. And yet we must live together, worship together and look out for the needs of those who are most vulnerable amongst us. We continue to make sacrifices for the good of the whole.  One guarantee; with our protocols in place you are safer than you would be at the grocery store or a restaurant.  Inevitably though, some will still not feel comfortable.  Because of this reality, we are committed to our liturgy being  live streamed.

God's Peace,

Fr. Joseph+

The Latest

  • From the Diocese 8/30/21
    Masks:

As you are aware, the Delta variant is now the predominant strain of the Coronavirus. It is significantly more transmissible and has shown an ability to infect those fully vaccinated. These “breakthrough” transmissions are concerning for indoor gatherings. 

  • In accordance with the CDC recommendation, we continue to recommend, in the strongest possible terms, that all churches require masks indoors. Masks should be worn indoors for worship, fellowship and other gatherings at which people’s vaccination status is mixed or unknown. Unless otherwise required by municipal law, masks can be optional at small indoor gatherings at which everyone is fully vaccinated. Non-church groups should continue to be guided and regulated by local government and the rules of their own regulating parent groups and industries.

  • (Full Diocesan Guidance  as of 5/17/21) (Updated guidance is anticipated in early September.)

    Communion

  • St. Mary's ushers will help keep spacing between those receiving communion. Please wait on their instructions before going up to communion.

  • There are touchless hand sanitizing stations for worshipers as they enter the church as well as before communion.

  • Everyone on the Altar will wash their hands immediately after the Peace/before the liturgy of the table begins. 

  • Communion of one kind, bread only, will be administered.

  • The priest will administer the sacrament wearing a mask and using tongs. There will be no intinction. 

    Facilities

  • St. Mary's has a new state of the art air handling system that has been installed in the Sanctuary as of 6/21.  The new HVAC system has greatly improved the flow of air through the church building. The volume of air movement has been increased significantly by the new air handler (blower). So much so that if you happen to be in the basement while the system is running you can actually feel the air flowing across the space. In addition to the increased air flow, which means that air in the church is fully filtered much more rapidly, St. Mary's has selected a higher density of filter to improve the removal of airborne particulates and organisms such as bacteria and viruses. St. Mary's has also contracted to have the filters changed every 3 months to ensure that efficient air cleaning is achieved.

  • Between liturgies the sanctuary is disinfected. A specialized sprayer emits the disinfectant with a positive electrical charge. Surfaces, such as pews, are always negatively charged. The ionized spray is attracted to surfaces and adheres to them uniformly disinfecting the surface. St. Mary's uses hospital grade products for this process.

  • There are two touchless hand sanitizing stations and extra masks as you enter the church for your convenience.