On May 14, 2020, local leaders of the City of Richmond and the County of Accomack requested a two-week delay to enter Phase One, Governor Northam amended Executive Order 62 to delay reopening of these jurisdictions until Friday, May 29, 2020.
As a result of this new information and for the safety of all, Bishop Knestout is directing all parishes located in the City of Richmond and the County of Accomack to delay moving to Phase 1 Reopening until the Sunday Vigil Mass on Saturday, May 30, 2020. This includes delaying offering public Masses.
May 15, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is with great joy we will once again come together in our parish churches for the celebration of Sunday Mass, beginning the weekend of May 23 and 24, in this diocese, we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension.
These past eight weeks have been a time when — to use the words of the Psalmist — we have longed, thirsted and yearned for the Eucharist. We have come to appreciate in a deeper way how important it is for us to be fed the Bread of Life.
In order to protect your health and those of your fellow parishioners at Mass, we have put in place numerous safeguards. Among them are: Worshipers age 3 and older will wear face coverings. Masses will be scheduled with additional time between them. We will practice social distancing. Communion will be distributed only in the form of bread and only by the priest and deacon.
Your parish and our website richmonddiocese.org have additional information of what you can expect as we resume the celebration of public Masses.
This is the first phase of restoring full sacramental life in our parishes. We will need to work together as we prepare to move safely into a gradual reopening. Please be patient with and understanding of your clergy and parish staff as they implement these guidelines. Their concern is to protect the health of our faith communities while we celebrate Mass.
During this time of transition, I wish to thank you for supporting your parish with your prayers and financial contributions, and for the personal commitment you have made to grow in faith and to be people of hope.
Please pray for those who have become ill or who have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Pray, too, our health care workers and all who are on the front lines of treating those who have the coronavirus. Their service is a witness to the Gospel.
As we ask God to keep us safe and thank him for his goodness, and we call upon the Holy Spirit to guide us and inspire us during this challenging time, be assured of my prayers for you and please keep me in yours.
Yours in Christ,
The Most. Rev. Barry C. Knestout
Bishop of Richmond