St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Directives Regarding the Re-Opening of our Parish (May 13, 2020)

May 13, 2020

To the faithful members of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church:

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

On May 6, 2020, His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH provided the clergy of our God-protected Archdiocese with a detailed letter of directives that our local Synod has put into place once the stay-at-home orders issued by Governor Baker are lifted. Those directives that impact our faithful are as follows:

  • Ten members of laity may attend Divine Liturgy in rotation with appropriate physical distancing throughout the nave.
    On the Tuesday preceding the Sunday Divine Liturgy, you will receive a telephone call from our church secretary, Robert Kowalik, if you are in the ten member group (members of an immediate family residing in the same household or one household will count as one member) for that Sunday. If you are not home and do not return the message, advising that you will attend, Bob will invite the next person on the list. We will be using our annual ballot, as modified to include new members, for purposes of the calls. Bob will alternate each week working in alphabetical order one week and reverse alphabetical order the next week. This will commence Sunday, May 24, 2020, assuming the stay-at-home order is lifted by the Governor.
  • Under no circumstances is any member to appear on a Sunday unless he/she has been invited. This is the directive of the Archdiocese. Further, if you are scheduled to attend and become ill, please do not come to liturgy.
  • You must arrive no later than 10:15 a.m. on the Sunday you are scheduled to attend liturgy. After 10:15 a.m., there will be no one available to provide you access to the church.
  • When entering the Nave, you are to only sit in the middle pews that have a white piece of paper affixed to the end of the pew. Do not sit in any other pews. This limits the amount of sanitizing necessary.
  • There will be no access for any reason to the hall area, church offices and/or the kitchen. Children under 12 years of age are to be escorted to the bathroom by an adult.
  • You must have a mask or face covering, which you may remove when you are in the pew and must put on when leaving the pew. If you arrive without a mask or face covering, you will not be permitted to remain. You need to provide your own masks; the church will not have masks.
  • You must bring hand sanitizer with you for your use.
  • The Antidoron (holy bread) will be handed to you by Father Antony or the altar server.
  • There will be no hugging, handshakes or kissing, including kissing of icons, the cross, gospel and/or Father Antony’s hand. To appropriately venerate the gospel, cross or icon, please bow your head.
  • Communion and receipt of the Antidoron will be from the right aisle only. Tape will be placed on the carpet to provide for spacing for social distancing. An usher will be present, please follow his/her direction.
  • Father Antony will be wearing a face mask during the distribution of communion and during the dismissal for his protection and the protection of others.
  • Communion will continue in accordance with the church’s tradition. You must allow Father Antony to pour the Body and Blood by opening your mouth wide and not closing your lips on the spoon.
  • Do not wipe your mouth with the communion cloth after receiving communion. 

The spiritual conversation of confessions may be done either over the telephone with the absolution prayer being given in person with physical distancing or all in-person with physical distancing. The stole will not be placed on the penitent’s head.

We ask for your patience and that you respect these directives and strictly comply. These directives and restrictions are necessary to protect the health and safety of Father Antony, our altar services, chanters and those laity in attendance.

Our services will continue to be available by live stream.

Finally, due to COVID-19, the Memorial Day blessing of the graves will not be done this year.

In the event you have any questions and/or concerns, please call the church office or Mary Winstanley O’Connor at (781) 641-2967.

Yours in His service,

Rev. Father Antony Hughes

Mary Winstanley O’Connor
Parish Council President