Phone: 301-739-0390
Fax: 301-739-7082
church@saintmarysonline.org
224 W. Washington St. Hagerstown, MD 21740
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St. Mary's Catholic Church

Inclement Weather Policy

Dear Friends in Christ, 

This Tuesday, January 22, the Church in the United States observes the annual “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.” This day is set aside to pray for the legal protection of human life and to do penance for the violations to human dignity through abortion. We are called to observe this day through prayer and penance. More information can be found here.

Getting a little deeper into the season of winter, the question of "Can I miss Mass in bad weather?" will sure enough arise. There are two factors that need to be considered: both our Sunday obligation - a serious obligation which binds under pain of mortal sin - and the safety of traveling in bad weather, Father Langan pointed me to the following blog post which is a helpful tool in making individual decisions. You will also find our official inclement weather policy printed in the Jan 12, 2020  bulletin to help with other questions.

Fr. Ryan Hilderbrand, pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntingburg; Indiana, tweeted three things to think about when bad weather arises on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation,
Is missing Mass permitted? Below are his three bullet points.

Can I Miss Mass Because of Bad Weather?
1) If the weather makes it impossible The Church automatically allows you to miss Mass if it is impossible for you to go to Mass. You do not commit sin, you do not need co confess it,
and you ought to feel free to present yourself for Holy Communion in the future,
2) Is the weather bad enough? Or could you make it to the grocery store?
If you look outside and think that you'd be fine to go to the grocery store or have your hair done, then it's not bad enough FOR YOU to miss Mass, Go to Mass. To miss would be grave matter!
3) Take a look. Would you be terrified the whole way there? If you look outside and think chat you'd be able to drive to the pharmacy or Emergency Room, but you'd be terrified the whole way, then it's bad enough FOR YOU to miss Mass, Stay home, warm, and safe, Consider saying a Rosary for the homeless who live in this weather.

It's also important to consider that the weather might be bad at my usual Mass time, but not at all of them. Just because you can't make it co Mass at your usual Mass time doesn't necessarily mean you can't make it to Mass at all For instance, if I can't make it to the 5:15 Mass on Saturday evening, I need to be prepared to go on Sunday morning or Sunday evening, if weather permits. Similarly, maybe I drive a good distance to get to St. Mary's or
closer to where I live. If I can safely make it there for Mass, I should go there.

These are also helpful guidelines for when we are sick, Slightly revised for illness:

1) If it is impossible for you to leave che house on account of your illness or the seriousness of contagousness or if the doctor has ordered you not to leave the house. You do not commit sin, you do not need to confess it, and you ought to feel free to present yourself for Holy Communion in the future, 
2) If you are sick but feel up to going to work or running errands, you are not sick enough to miss Mass. 
3) If you are sick but have to force yourself to go out to get medicine or see the doctor but otherwise would stay home, you are sick enough to miss Mass. 

Finally, Fr Hilderbrand's last point is worth elaborating on. Even if we cannot make it to Mass, we still owe God our worship, hence, we should not consider ourselves entirely off the hook as we usually do on a snow day from school. Rather, we must take some time to pray. Perhaps use the readings for Mass or, as he already suggests, the Rosary. If we are sick, it may be more difficult to pray depending on what type of illness we have, but we should try to pray as best we can.

May God bless you and keep you in His care, and may the
Blessed Mother intercede for you,
Father Cibelli 


Formed Flyer

Thanks to a generous donation by the Pangborn Council of the Knights of Columbus, every member of our community now has access to a great online resource called FORMED.org. FORMED provides an impressive number of video, audio, and e-book resources directly to your phone or computer that cover just about any topic you can imagine on the Catholic Faith. They are high quality and very engaging from some of the most prominent names in solid catechesis today (and from the past too!) such as Edward Sri, Fr. Mike Schmitz, and Bishop Fulton Sheen. It’s often described as “Catholic Netflix”! I’ll be highlighting specific series or individual programs that are especially worth checking out. See below for how to create your own personal account, you can click on the flyer to take you to the set up page.