About Church

Coronavirus Information

Important Update from Fr. Woods

After consulting with the Archdiocese, the decision about masks and Holy Communion is one left to the local pastor and community. Certainly, anyone who wears a mask for Holy Communion is welcome to do so, but I have decided not to make it a policy of our parish at this point. I will ask for the present time that the priests, deacons, and lay ministers of communion wear masks when they give out communion. If any of the lay ministers are concerned about giving communion to people without masks, I can understand that and will not ask you to give out communion until you feel comfortable doing so. As for our outside Masses, I do not think either the person receiving or the person distributing communion needs to wear a mask if he or she chooses that option. 
 
I am delighted with the increasing number of members of our parish community that are returning to Masses in both our churches. Since the norm of moving from six feet to three is now the present rule, we have much more seating space in our churches and we will no longer at this time require people to register for Mass in either church. I want to express my deepest appreciation to Chyrell Cardillo whose great computer skills enabled us to have this program available when it was needed and how faithfully she attended to it for many months. I am also most grateful for the ushers and greeters who served to check in those who were attending Mass. The support of our parish staff, our parish volunteers, and the Knights of Columbus was very helpful in allowing us to have our Masses in a very safe and sacred way. 

Lifting of Some Restrictions

May 20, 2021
A Note From Father Woods
 
Dear Parishioners,
 
Like many people I spent many months worrying about getting Covid 19, in particular because of my age and some health concerns. For many months, I tried to avoid giving out Holy Communion and I am so grateful for the many Eucharistic ministers who did serve in this important ministry. When I was vaccinated, I will say that I felt liberated. I trusted in the vaccine and left the rest in the hands of God. Now, with many norms changing about masks indoors and outdoors, I am sure you may feel a bit apprehensive about not wearing a mask. I think that is only natural. Our parish seeks to minister to both the vaccinated and non-vaccinated to the best of our abilities. Whatever you decide about masks is your personal choice, and I will respect that.
 
The announcement by the Center for Disease Control removing indoor social distancing from six feet to three feet as well as not requiring masks to be worn by those who have been vaccinated caught many off guard. Governor Hogan: Hogan’s order goes further and rescinds the mask order for all residents, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated or not, but requires masks on public transit, in hospitals and in schools. "Unvaccinated residents are strongly encouraged to wear masks,” Hogan said, “but not required.” “Anne Arundel County will follow the State’s decision regarding the lifting of the mask order,” Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said. “If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, go get your shot. We need a summer surge in vaccinations to prevent a fall surge in cases.” We also heard from the Archdiocese this weekend: As a result of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s most recent announcement lifting the indoor mask requirement, the wearing of masks is no longer mandated on parish campuses in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, unless it is required by the local jurisdiction. This is effective immediately. Wearing masks is still strongly encouraged for those who are not vaccinated. Social distancing of 3 ft. is still required inside of buildings. Please note that Archdiocesan schools will be issuing separate guidance in the coming days.
 
As you can see, much has changed quite rapidly in the past few days. Last year on Pentecost Sunday was the day we officially opened the Church to public Masses. This coming Saturday and Sunday, the weekend of May 22nd- 23rd, will begin the implementation of the policies given to us by the CDC, The State of Maryland, Anne Arundel County, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore. I felt this day of the Holy Spirit is a perfect time to begin to move forward with these changes. Although at times there has been some frustration with the various decisions made by these state and church leaders, I think they have done well by us. I am most grateful for the cooperation of all our parishioners during this time of the pandemic. We have not had any reports of a person contracting the virus at church events; additionally, in spite of our limited space, we have not turned anyone away from any Masses. We as a parish can be proud of that.
 
Social distancing is now required at three feet. This new norms will actually double the number of seats available in our two churches. New outlines of open seats will be prepared by Pentecost. We will continue to ask for Mass reservations for St. Mary’s Church for weekends. If I see that is not needed, I will adjust that norm.
Some more good news:
  • With parents’ permissions, we can have altar servers.
  • Spiritual and social gatherings are permitted with the rules of three feet social distancing being maintained.
  • We now allowed to again use holy water.
  • We are now allowed to sing in church.
  • I will ask those giving our Holy Communion to wear masks since it not possible to keep the required three feet of social distancing.
  • There will be little wearing of masks for the outdoor Masses, except for Holy Communion.
  • The offertory gifts can be carried forth by members of the parish.
  • Bulletins and printed material can be placed in church to be picked up by the parishioners (ushers are asked not to hand out materials-they should be picked up by the parishioner).
It is my hope, with the approval of the Archdiocese, to continue to have outdoor Masses since God has blessed us with beautiful property and many people enjoy these celebrations of the Holy Mass. We will also continue to live stream our Masses. I know there are people who have health concerns and do not feel as of yet comfortable in a large group of people. I understand that and we are happy to try to have someone bring you Holy Communion if you wish.
 
The wearing and not wearing of masks in our society has become, as is now for many issues, a kind of political issue. The wearing and not wearing of masks is seen by some as a kind of statement. Some of this has led to arguments and nasty behaviors toward one another. Gratefully, there have been almost no such incidents in our parish family. We are all walking the line between public safety and personal freedom. As we have followed the recommended norms we have in place at our parish, I think that has helped us avoid such tensions. If people choose to wear a mask, that is fine. If they follow the new norms from the CDC, the Archdiocese, the Governor and the County, they are able to go without masks if they so choose and if they have been vaccinated. We at our parish will not now and I sure hope not in the future require people to prove they have been vaccinated. In my mind the matter of vaccination is a personal choice.
 
Now, on the day of the Holy Spirit, we continue to walk with more freedom in the face of the virus. We certainly remember all who have died from this horrible disease,and pray in gratitude to all have helped care for the sick and work for the health care of all. Spirit of God, breathe into us your spirit. Amen.

In the Redeemer,
Fr. Pat Woods, C.Ss.R.

Unity Through Prayer

Eternal Rest Grant Unto

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25

Some in our parish have lost loved ones during this time, without being able to have a funeral. This adds to the sadness of the loss. Words from the families of those who have passed on to eternal life can be found here.

St. Mary’s Parish, a Catholic congregation served by the Redemptorist Order, includes St. Mary’s Church and St. John Neumann Mission Church. St. Mary's Elementary and High School located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, serve students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12. Anchored in faith, rooted in tradition, and committed to excellence, our programs build lifelong learners who are servant leaders.