Our Church During COVID-19

St Mary's

In Massachusetts, masks and social distancing are no longer required for fully vaccinated people (you are considered fully vaccinated if it has been at least two weeks since your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine). (Fully vaccinated immunocompromised people are advised to continue safe practices—wear a mask, maintain social distancing, avoid crowds indoors and outdoors, clean hands frequently—and to speak with their doctor about risk if necessary.) The state does advise that non-vaccinated people continue to wear masks and to practice social distancing in most settings. The parish is following this easing of restrictions with guidance from the Archdiocese. Please note the following which applies to worship and other parish activities (not to parish schools or parish offices):

  • The obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day Mass will be reinstated for most parishioners on Father's Day weekend of June 19/20. Even so, if a parishioner is feeling ill they should remain at home. Cardinal Seán's message about the reinstatement includes the following: This obligation does not apply to those who are ill; those who have been recently exposed to COVID or any other communicable illness; those who are confined to their homes or to hospitals or other facilities due to illness, infirmity, frailty, or age; and those who are not yet able to be vaccinated, due to age or any health consideration. Parishioners should consult their local pastor if they have questions about the obligation. Please read the Cardinal's entire message here.
  • It is understood that not all fully vaccinated people will be ready to take off their masks and stop social distancing.
  • Our parish accommodates both those who are ready to take off their masks and sit near others not in their household, and those who are not ready. We have separate sections of the church for socially distanced seating with masks on and for regular pre-pandemic seating with masks optional for fully vaccinated people. Signage and, at Sunday Masses, our ushers will guide you.
  • Some people who are comfortable dropping social distancing may not yet be comfortable taking off their masks. Everyone is free to wear masks as long as and whenever desired and of course will be respected if they choose to do so.

Whether you are fully vaccinated or not, healthy or “high risk” (anyone over 60, immunocompromised, with a heart condition or diabetes, or who has any other serious underlying medical conditions), your safety and health during worship is the highest priority. We encourage every parishioner and every family to make a sound and reasonable decision about what is best for their own health and the health of their family and their communities, and to consult with their doctor when appropriate. If a smaller congregation size is important to you, you should know that the 11 a.m. Mass is the most popular. Should you decide that staying at home is safer, we respect your decision. We continue to stream the 11 a.m. Mass so that you can worship and participate at home and watch it live or anytime afterwards.

How to Prepare for Mass

St. Mary Interior

●  If you have any symptoms of illness, or if you are not fully vaccinated and have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, you must stay at home. 

●  We suggest bringing your own hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer will be on hand as it remains available, but having your own disinfecting materials is an extra precaution. 

What to Expect at Mass

●  Ushers and signage/markers will guide you to your preferred socially distanced with mask on seating or not distanced seating section of the church.

●  In the socially distanced section, social distancing is required between persons/households and masks should be worn. 

●  As much as possible, we ask that you please remain in your pew for the duration of the Mass.

Liturgy

Fr. J Mass in Church 4-15-20

●  There will be no formal offertory collection. Parishioners are encouraged to give through Online Giving (available on our webpage here). We depend on and thank you for your generosity! 

●  Communion will be offered after the consecration as usual with those partaking forming a line and processing towards the minister just as in pre-pandemic times. This includes those in the socially distanced seating section. However, anyone who is not comfortable joining the procession may remain standing in their pew. When the communion line is done, a minister will approach those standing and give them the Eucharist at the entrance of their pew. Once you have received Holy Communion, please kneel and pray. It is never appropriate to leave Mass before the final blessing and dismissal.

If you would prefer to remain in church and pray after Mass, please do so. (In consideration of those who remain vulnerable, please do not congregate inside church before or after Mass.)  

If you or anyone in your party tests positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of attendance at Mass, you must immediately contact the parish at 617-734-0444 ext. 2 or [email protected] so that we can alert everyone who attended Mass at the same time (of course, identities will be kept anonymous). If we are notified of a diagnosis of a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, in the interest of public health we will make an announcement on our website, Facebook page, and bulletin.

We are so grateful for all our parishioners and thank you for your cooperation and perseverance during the health crisis. We pray for the health, safety, and well-being of our faith community and communities beyond. Peace and God bless.