In compliance with University regulations for Spring semester 2021, all incoming students are required to enter into a period of quarantine through February 7, 2021. During the quarantine period, certain restrictions will be in place regarding access to the Sacraments.
We present in this Frequently Asked Questions document answers to some of the questions you may have about availability of Mass and confessions during the quarantine period. These answers are below. First, some prefatory remarks.
Preface to Frequently Asked Questions (Fr. Jude)
To see the Frequently Asked Questions please scroll down
“…and the greatest of these is Love.” 1 Cor: 13:13
We are all, faculty, staff and students, looking forward to our January opening and we are praying that The Catholic University of America can be just as successful this semester as last in dealing with COVID 19. It was a risk opening the University in August and by the grace of God, careful planning by the Administration and Staff and the cooperation of the 700 resident students that we were able to complete the semester and avoid closing prematurely.
I think students and staff believed they had an obligation to protect other members of the community by wearing face coverings, keeping social distancing and quarantining when required to do so. It was one thing when all students quarantined the first two weeks together but quarantining become more of a challenge when individuals, suites or entire buildings had to quarantine in order to slow the spread of the virus on campus as the semester progressed. But, students did it. They were frustrated and some were angry but deep down there was this sense that, “I am responsible for protecting others from the virus and as much as I am inconvenienced I need to do it.” In other words there was a personal commitment to promoting the “common good.”
As Christians we talk a lot about love. As we enter into a new season I recommend that we read again Chapter 13 of St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. Paul’s phrases describing love can help us think and act as Christians as we encounter disappointments that we will inevitably face as we return to living with the health protocols required for keeping campus open and safe.
“Love is patient, love is kind … it is not proud … or rude … or self-seeking … or easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs … and rejoices with the truth.” Not being able to participate in the March for Life; not having easy access to the Sacraments; not being able to find solace and strength in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during quarantine are just some of the disappointments and crosses we are called upon to bear in order for us to contribute to the health of others and keep our university open.
In my separate statement about the March for Life I tried to provide sound pastoral guidance for uniting our crosses to the Cross of Jesus Christ on behalf of the pre-born and their mothers. In order to put love into practice in other ways during the pandemic
The University Administrators and Staff believe just as much in the Life Causes as our students do. They know how deeply disappointed students are with all the restrictions. If they could they would lead you – as they have in the past – downtown and march alongside of you on January 29th. .
The Pastoral Staff and I – not to mention administrators and other staff members – are deeply grieved that you will not enjoy easy access to our Eucharistic Lord and the Sacraments during initial quarantine.
As Franciscan Priests charged with providing for the spiritual well- being of our campus community – we – the friars - have suffered much not being able to freely offer confessions or to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with you, the People of God over extended periods of time these past 10 months. We were not ordained to celebrate Mass over YouTube. We are responsible for calling the community together – in person - to worship God as the one, Body of Christ.
So I ask you to think about these realities as we face this initial quarantine together. Please do not give into anger, or rudeness, rash judgment. Thinking and acting lovingly – charitably - is the sacrifice we are all called to make as Christians. We are all on the same team. Decisions that must be made to keep us all safe are also acts of love. A love that places the common good over our personal preference is sometimes the greatest sacrifice one can make.
I encourage each of us to pray reflectively the last lines of chapter thirteen: “In the end there are three things that last, faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Will Sunday Masses be celebrated on Campus during Quarantine?
Yes, there will be Sunday Masses celebrated on campus during quarantine. However, there are protocols to be followed each week that will meet the DC regulations for the opening of campus.
- Sunday, January 17
- Sunday, January 24: the 11 AM Mass will be lived-streamed on our Campus Ministry YouTube Channel –Here At the conclusion of Mass, Holy Communion will be distributed to resident students until 12:15 PM in St Vincent’s Chapel. Please maintain a six- foot distance; leave immediately after receiving the Eucharist; and, do not congregate outside of chapel.
- Sunday, January 31: In-person Masses will begin. Masses will be celebrated at 11AM* – 4PM – 6:30PM and 9PM in St Vincent’s Chapel, Resident students must register on the Nest for Mass. We must maintain a 50 person limit at each Mass. * 11 AM Mass will still be live-streamed with the opportunity for students to receive the Eucharist until 12:15 PM in St Vincent’s Chapel
- Sunday, February 7: The same January 31st procedures will be followed
Will weekday Masses be celebrated on Campus during Quarantine?
Unfortunately, there will not be daily Mass celebrated on campus during quarantine. There remain many options for daily Masses to be accessed on line throughout the day and night.
During quarantine, will the Chapels be open for individual prayer?
During quarantine, Jesus' words recorded in Matthew 6:6 - “When you pray go to your inner room…” takes on new significance. Unfortunately, the Chapels on campus will not be available for private prayer because students are very limited in their activities during quarantine.
Will confessions be scheduled at specific times during quarantine?
We are striving to balance the spiritual needs of our students with the restrictions of quarantine which can be problematic. With the rate of new infections on the rise nationally; the fact that our students are coming from all over the country; the need for privacy during auricular confessions; and, the fact that quarantine is only for 14 days - we have concluded that scheduled confession times. is not feasible.
However, students can either walk into CM and if a priest is available, he will be happy to hear the student’s confession OR students can schedule an appointment with any of the friars by email.
Will students be able to attend Mass or go to confession at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception or the St John Paul Shrine during the quarantine?
Because resident students are not allowed to leave campus during the quarantine, attending Mass or going to confession off campus is not an option.
Will the University commemorate January 29, 2021 - the day scheduled for the March for Life - since students are unable to attend?
Yes, Campus Ministry will publish a full schedule of events of nationally televised events and our own virtual events for the Vigil and the day of the virtual March?
Will students be able to form their own March on campus on January 29th?
With the DC restriction on the number of people who can assemble - it will not be possible for students to form their own March on campus.