Dear St. Marians-
For Penn students, Spring Break is being extended for one week. During this time, the University will complete planning to migrate all classroom teaching to virtual instruction for both undergraduate and graduate classes beginning Monday, March 23rd. Virtual instruction will continue through the remainder of the spring semester including examinations. Students who are on campus are asked to depart by Tuesday, March 17th, and the University is providing resources to make this possible. You can read their full statement here.
(Copy and paste: https://coronavirus.upenn.edu)
As students will be learning remotely and off-campus, our Tuesday midday mass and Thursday Candlelight Compline will not resume for this semester.
All programs outside of Sunday worship have been suspended or canceled at this time, including:
Sunday Coffee Hour
Third Sunday Potluck Brunch
Sunday Lenten Conversation
Sunday School & Nursery
Sunday Evensong at 5 PM on March 22nd
Tuesday Low Mass
Wednesday Lenten Study
Thursday Candlelight Compline
At this time, 11 AM Sunday mass at St. Mary’s will continue as scheduled and until we are instructed otherwise by Bishop Gutierrez or the City of Philadelphia. We will reassess this periodically as we have more information.
We will be taking common-sense precautions, including:
+ If you are feeling sick, please stay home. If you are over 60, have a compromised immune system, or any other health condition, the CDC recommends that you stay home and avoid public gatherings as an added precaution. In any of these cases, let your clergy know, and we will arrange a call or a visit.
+ If you are scheduled as a volunteer for any aspect of worship- acolyte, altar guild, counter, lector, or usher- and would prefer to stay home, please let both me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Brittany (email@example.com) know as soon as you are able.
+ We will not be offering intinction (dipping of hosts into the wine) during communion. Be reminded that receiving the host alone is sufficient as full communion in our tradition, but for those who prefer to partake of the cup, we are using a silver chalice with fortified wine and wiping after each sip. These precautions help prevent germ transmission but do not eradicate the risk of infection.
+ We will be practicing social distancing by exchanging the peace from afar- with a nod, wave, bow, get creative! Spread out in the sanctuary- enjoy your own pew!
+ The offering will be a little different- rather than passing the plate an alms basin will be located on a table by the font for the first half of the mass, please place your offering in it when you arrive and an usher will bring the basin forward at the Offertory. You are also able to pay your pledge and make donations fee-free through our PayPal Giving Fund button here.
(Copy and paste: www.stmarysatpenn.org/donate/)
+ For as long as our stock lasts, hand sanitizer will be located all around the sanctuary, and your clergy will be using it liberally before, during, and after mass.
+ Continue to wash your hands frequently, with soap. Make a spiritual discipline of it: Singing the Doxology takes about 40 seconds, which is also the WHO recommended length of effective handwashing. Coincidence? Very possibly. But take advantage of your chance to sing a solo in the restroom, your home, wherever you might be.
You can find the full text of our bishop’s response and direction to clergy and our parishes here.
(Copy and paste: www.diopa.org/news/faith-based-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19)
The University City Hospitality Coalition has developed a contingency plan for our guests who eat dinner at St. Mary’s and other churches every night of the week. UCHC will be distributing meals-to-go from the Parish Hall steps on Thursday nights at 5:30 PM and Saturday at noon as long as we continue to have volunteers.