Saint Agnes Response to COVID 19
Dear St. Agnes Parishioners,
My prayers go with all of you, as we find ways to do our part to contain the spread of COVID-19 and yet make the sacraments available to those who are most in need. As a Church community, we must do our part to promote the common good and the health of the broader community. The diocese has been cooperating with the CDC and local authorities to make sure we do the right thing. In accord with directives issued this afternoon by Bishop Burbidge, St. Agnes will take the following measures, effective immediately:
· All public Masses -- including Sunday, Holy Day and weekday Masses -- are suspended until further notice. Priests will celebrate Masses privately in the rectory chapel for the proper intentions of each Mass, as listed in the bulletin. In other words, all proper Mass intentions will be honored.
· Lenten Stations of the Cross are cancelled.
· The First Communion Masses scheduled for April 25 and May 2 will be rescheduled.
· For infant or child baptisms, only one child may be baptized per ceremony; and only the Priest, Parents, Godparents may attend.
· Weddings and funerals will take place only if absolutely necessary, and attendance will be limited to ten people.
· The church will be open from 9AM to 5PM for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, for up to ten people at a time. Gathering for devotions, such as the Stations of the Cross or Rosary, is not permitted. The Adoration Chapel is closed until further notice.
· Scheduled confessions will be available at 6:30PM on Wednesdays during Lent (Light is On) and at 8:00AM and 3:00PM on Saturdays. However, confessions will not take place in the confessional, and penitents will be required to stand (not kneel or sit) when making the confession at a length of six feet from the priest. (Otherwise we would be required to disinfect chairs and kneelers). Fr. Sina will arrange for a place in the church where confessions will take place -- perhaps in the sacristy or another suitable room. Signs will be made directing penitents. Penitents waiting in line to make a confession will be instructed to stand six feet apart.
· Sick visits by clergy will be limited to those who are dying and those with COVID-19 who request the Sacraments.
I thank all of you for your patience and understanding. This is an unprecedented situation for us all, and we are working through it. While we all may feel saddened by this very limited access to the Sacraments that Christ gave us -- especially the Sacrament of his Body and Blood -- let us pray that this will be a time of great grace. May this be an occasion to grow in our appreciation of what God has given us thus far in the abundance of his Mercy, especially in Holy Communion. As St. Maximilian Kolbe said, it only takes one Holy Communion to make a saint. May we be grateful for the gifts of grace that we have already received and do our part to cooperate with it. Grace does not fade with time. It is eternal. Also, let us pray -- through the intercession of St. Raphael -- for the protection, health and safety of all people during this difficult time.
Peace and blessings to all of you, in Christ and his Mother, Fr. Edlefsen
Fr. Frederick Edlefsen
St. Agnes Catholic Church
1910 N. Randolph Street
Arlington, VA 22207