Coronavirus response updates from the Diocese of Arlington and the Basilica of Saint Mary

With the threat of the Coronavirus spreading in the United States, please be assured that we are vigilant in monitoring the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and recommendations. We are working with, and under the direction of, the Diocese of Arlington. As information changes and/or becomes available, we will keep you informed as to how it will affect the day to day operations of our parish.

Recommendations from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect yourself are available here.

Update April 4, 2020: Due to Diocesan regulations regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, the Basilica will not be distributing palms this year.

Update March 29, 2020: The Basilica of Saint Mary parish offices are closed to the public until further notice. They will still be staffed and our staff is still available by phone and email, but the offices will be closed to the public. If you need to drop off anything, please use the mail slot. The church is still open to the public and only 10 people are allowed inside at a time.

Update March 16, 2020: In accordance with new protocols established by the Diocese of Arlington, all public Masses at the Basilica of Saint Mary are suspended until further notice. Watch an announcement from Bishop Burbidge here.

  • Masses will still be celebrated privately by our priests for the intentions of each day.
  • The Basilica of Saint Mary will post a video of one of these private Masses every day until the public Mass suspension is over. The videos will be available on our website here, YouTube page and social media platforms.

All Confirmation Masses and liturgies in the Diocese, including the two liturgies scheduled for March 21 at the Basilica of Saint Mary, are postponed.

The Basilica of Saint Mary will remain open for prayer during our normal hours. No more than 10 people are permitted to be in the church at a time.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation will still be offered at our regularly scheduled times. People standing in line for Confession must stand at least six feet apart from each other.

Eucharistic Adoration will still be offered at our regularly scheduled times.

Stations of the Cross, which are held on Friday evenings in Lent, are canceled.

Pastoral care of the sick and homebound visits will only be limited to people who are dying and those with the Coronavirus who request the Sacraments.

  • Deacons and lay volunteers should not be visiting the sick in any official capacity.
  • Communion should not be brought to any other parishioner who is homebound or who cannot attend Mass.

All weddings and funerals will continue as scheduled only if absolutely necessary, with the attendance limited to immediate family members.

Spiritual Communion is encouraged for the faithful when they cannot attend Mass during these days in which Masses aren’t available to the public. A guide for Spiritual Communion is available here.

Update March 16, 2020: The parish mission with Father Emmerich Vogt is canceled on March 17, 18 and 19 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. A podcast of his talk from March 16 is available here.

Update March 15, 2020: The Saint Pio Foundation has postponed their national relic tour, so the Basilica of Saint Mary will not be hosting the relics of Padre Pio on March 25. We will hopefully host them sometime this year.

Update March 14, 2020: The Basilica of Saint Mary’s altar boy policy that each altar boy must serve at least one Mass a month has been suspended until further notice. Altar boys can still serve, but there is no obligation to.

Update March 13, 2020: Bishop Burbidge has expanded his dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation to include “individuals with concerns about being in public gatherings.”

The full text of the dispensation is: Until further notice, Bishop Burbidge has granted dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation for those segments of the community who are most vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus (those who are 60 years old or older, have chronic illness, or immune system deficiencies), those who care for a person with such a condition, and individuals with concerns about being in public gatherings.

Those who refrain from attending Mass should, if possible, devote time to prayer, observe Mass on television or the internet, and/or pray a Rosary. While nothing can replace attending and participating in Sunday Mass or receiving Holy Communion, those who refrain from Sunday Mass due to illness have not committed a mortal sin. When sick, observing the Sabbath with another holy devotion and prayer demonstrates good will and sincerity. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials encourage us to clean surfaces in our churches, offices and schools as frequently as possible to aid in the prevention of spreading infection.

Update March 13, 2020: CCD classes are canceled until further notice. All CYO activities are canceled until March 30.

Update March 13, 2020: RCIA sessions will still occur as scheduled.

Update March 13, 2020: Bishop Burbidge has released a Diocesan prayer to be prayed at all Masses. The prayer is available here.

Update March 13, 2020: The Sacrament of Confirmation will continue as scheduled on March 21, but there will not be receptions and photos with Bishop Loverde after.

Update: March 13, 2020: Recovering Origins, the diocesan support group for adult children of divorce, has postponed their meetings that were scheduled to occur in March and April at the Basilica of Saint Mary. They will be rescheduled later this year.

Update March 13, 2020: Date Night at the Basilica, which was scheduled for March 20, has been canceled.

Update March 12, 2020: The Basilica of Saint Mary is not canceling Masses, Sacraments, or any other liturgical activities at this time. That means Stations of the Cross, Adoration, Confession, Confirmation, etc. will continue as scheduled. Even though we are not canceling any Masses and liturgies, we are going to postpone our Saint Patrick Irish Hooley to a later date. All ticket purchases made for the Hooley will be honored when the event is rescheduled. We are canceling our Friday Lenten meatless meals until further notice, but we will still have Stations of the Cross at 7:00 pm with Confessions to follow.

Update March 12, 2020: The Basilica of Saint Mary will not have the Sign of Peace during our Masses until further notice.

Update March 11, 2020: Until further notice, Bishop Burbidge has granted dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation for those segments of our parish community who are most vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus (those 60 years old or older, those with chronic illness, and those with immune system deficiencies), as well as those who provide for the care of a person with such a condition. Those who are exempted should check with the parish or the diocesan website regularly for updates.

Those who refrain from attending Mass due to illness should, if possible, devote time to prayer, observe Mass on television or the internet, and/or pray a Rosary. While nothing can replace attending and participating in Sunday Mass or receiving Holy Communion, those who refrain from Sunday Mass due to illness have not committed a mortal sin. When sick, observing the Sabbath with another holy devotion and prayer demonstrates good will and sincerity. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials encourage us to clean surfaces in our churches, offices and schools as frequently as possible to aid in the prevention of spreading infection.

Update March 10, 2020: The Basilica of Saint Mary asks that people give a verbal greeting or head nod during the Sign of Peace at all Masses. Holy Water has been removed from all entrances.

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