Coronavirus Virus Update

This Page will update St. Mary’s parish family on all updates related to COVID-19

COVID-19 Preparedness Plan – June 5, 2020

Dear Parishioners;

At the direction of the Governor and the Archbishop every parish or institution must develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and designate a staff person to be the Plan Administrator.  I have appointed Mary Pettit our Parish Secretary/Administrator as St. Mary’s Preparedness Plan Administrator.  We are all appreciative of Mary’s willingness to do this on behalf of the parish and for the safety of all.  The plan is to be published online and in common gathering areas.  Thereupon the Preparedness Plan is being published on our Facebook page and on our Website under the “COVID-19 update” tab.  The plan has also been posted on the bulletin boards in church and in the Gathering Space.  Please read the Preparedness Plan so that you are aware of what we all need to do to keep everyone safe as possible during this pandemic.


Father O’Hotto

Plan Details:

May 26, 2020

Plan Administrator:  Mary Pettit

(763) 658-4319 ext. 21

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Waverly, MN has made the decision to open daily mass beginning Tuesday, May 26, 2020 with a limit of 10 people.  Beginning Wednesday, May 27, 2020 daily mass will be open to 25% (or less) capacity.  These were the guidelines set by the Governor and Archbishop.  Weekend masses will resume beginning June 6th & 7th at 25% (or less) capacity. Ushers will determine when capacity is met based on pews available (some pews have been taped off) and the 6 ft. social distancing requirement and based on the 25% capacity.  6 ft. markers have been placed on main aisle.

Our first consideration must continue to be for the spiritual and physical health of our parishioners and those whom they encounter, especially the most vulnerable:  the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.  We continue to rely on medical professionals and governmental standards to inform these directives.

Mary Pettit has been appointed by Father O’Hotto as St. Mary’s Preparedness Plan Administrator.  Direct questions and concerns to her regarding this plan.

Standard safety requirements need to be met.  Masks must be worn, hands need to be sanitized as you enter church and prior to receiving communion.  Parishioners need to exit the church immediately following mass, no social gathering in parish buildings and on church property.

The obligation to attend Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation continues to be suspended as long as the pandemic continues.  Our mass times remain at 5pm on Saturday and Sunday at 8am and 10:30am.

All COVID-19 positive persons, those who are symptomatic, and those living with then, must stay home.

Persons over age 65 and those with preexisting health conditions should continue to stay home during Phase II and avoid all public gatherings, including at church.

No matter your age, if you feel uncomfortable attending mass or any church event during this pandemic, then you are encouraged to stay home.

All the faithful should continue to follow hygienic practices at home:  wash hands often, avoid touching the face, cover coughs and sneezes.

Appropriate church staff and volunteers are being trained for their responsibilities.

Safety and Hygiene Procedures

Daily cleaning of church includes:  Sanitizing pews, chairs, music stands, microphones, doors, door handles, push plates, ambo, keyboards and other frequently touched surfaces before and after each liturgy.

Church restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized before and after each liturgy.

Bi-weekly cleaning of Parish Center includes:  sanitizing all office areas, doors, door handles, push plates, light switches, and alarm panels and other frequently touched surfaces. Fellowship Hall has been identified as a no entry zone and no one will be allowed in any part of the Fellowship Hall, restrooms, and first floor meeting rooms.  Parish office is open but closed to visitors, including parishioners.  All lower level meeting rooms are also closed.  All of this is for everyone’s safety during the pandemic.


Parish Center restrooms on both levels will be cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis or as needed.  These restrooms are for staff use only.

Fresh water in a bowl will be used and blessed for each baptism. Baptismal font and holy water fonts will remain empty.  Baptisms will be celebrated for those choosing to follow the 10 person limit as per the March 18 directive.

Hymnal books, brochures, handouts and materials etc…have been removed from church and the gathering space.

Altar vessels will be washed after each Mass in hot soapy water.

Vestments and albs will be regularly cleaned.

6 ft. Social Distancing will be required within the church, within the Parish Center, and on church property.

Hand Sanitizer will be provided at entrance doors and at designated areas in the church.

Bulletins will be printed and available for you to pick up as you exit the church at designated locations observing the 6 ft. social distancing. Bulletins will also be available in the drop box outside the parish office and they will continue to be available on St. Mary’s website.

During Phase II, which we are currently in, the maximum number of persons admitted into church is limited to 25% of total seating capacity (or less).

Each person must remain 6 feet away in all directions from others not in the same household.

Ushers will coordinate and determine when capacity is met based on current safety guidelines and will disallow further entry and encourage people to come to a later liturgy.

Masks are required for all parishioners age 5 and older who attend mass and any church event for everyone’s safety.

Children’s Chapel is closed and secured.

There will be no sign of peace and no holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.

Holy Communion will be administered during daily mass and after mass during weekend masses as per safety procedures of the Archdiocese. No Eucharistic Ministers will assist at this time. Father will wear a mask, sanitize his hands before distributing communion and each time after making contact (hand or tongue) with a communicant, before distributing to the next communicant.  And he will also sanitize his hands after distributing to everyone. Parishioners are strongly encouraged to receive communion in the hand during this pandemic.

The Precious Blood will not be distributed to the faithful.

Only ushers, lectors and cantors will be used until further notice. No altar servers and no ministers of communion will be used until further notice.

Ushers will be instructed by Tim LePage on new procedures and safety guidelines prior to weekend masses beginning on June 6th & 7th.  The instructions will include:

  • 1 usher at Church Door
  • 1 usher at Parish Center Door
  • 1 usher at Offertory Basket
  • 1 usher overseeing Church seating and report to other ushers if capacity is met
  • 3 singles, 2 couples, or one family of same household per pew
  • Welcome parishioners back! Masks are required.  6 ft. social distance must be maintained.
  • 1 Usher will place the offertory in the security bag while other ushers observe (following social distancing) and 1 usher will bring offertory forward to the altar (even if mass has started) and set it in front of the altar
  • One usher for Communion (main aisle). Usher people one by one, alternating each side keeping 6 ft. social distance.

Congregational singing is temporarily discontinued.  No choir.  Cantor will sing.  Instrumentalist and Cantor must stay 12 ft. from one another.  Instrumentalist and Cantor must wear masks like congregation at all times.

Outdoor masses will not take place.

Funerals and weddings will be celebrated for those choosing to follow the 25% capacity and safety guidelines.  No wakes or visitations at St. Mary’s for funerals during the pandemic. No receiving lines for weddings during the pandemic.  Guests need to leave church, parish buildings and the church property immediately following funeral or wedding in observance of the no congregating safety policy.

Volunteers will be required to sign an Adult Liability Waiver.


St. Mary’s will be following and implementing all recommended cleaning, disinfecting and social distancing guidelines to try to keep you safe.  Yet, you need to know that you attend mass and all future gatherings at your own risk.  Because of the nature of the virus and because of still unknown things about the virus please take note of the following:

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists anywhere people are present.  COVIS-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death.  According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and people with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.  St. Mary’s Church has undertaken precautionary cleaning, disinfecting, and implemented social distancing guidelines to help reduce the risk of exposure.  However, St. Mary’s Church cannot guarantee that visitors are 100% safe from exposure to COVID-19.  Therefore, St. Mary’s Church recommends that people over 65 or with underling health conditions not attend mass at this time and continue to worship online.  Attendance at liturgies is at your own risk.



Prayers for the situation in the cities – May 30, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Because of the bad situation in the cities, I ask you, People of Faith, to pour on prayers for God’s help, strength and protection for law enforcement and for the MN National Guard to be successful in their mission to bring an end to the lawlessness, rioting, and destruction that has been happening the last 4 nights and pray for our Governor and State Officials and for both Mayors of both cities and their city officials to lead everyone through this difficult situation with God’s wisdom.  And also continue to pray for an end to the pandemic.
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!
St. Francis, Saint and Man of Faith, pray for us!
Your Pastor,
Fr. O’Hotto


Public Worship – May 7, 2020

Dear Parishioners;

You may have heard on the news that the Archbishop is permitting a return to public worship on May 18 if strict guidelines are followed. The problem is that it would be very difficult to enforce the guidelines. The Archbishop is allowing small groups, to gather for mass limited to no more than 1/3rd seating capacity of the church while maintaining social distancing (approximately every 3rd pew). Yet the Governor (at the time of this writing, May 5) is not allowing groups to gather of more than 10 people while observing social distancing of 6 ft. Department of Health has the same restrictions of 10 or less people in a group. Also, the Archbishop has only been allowing funerals and weddings with no more than 10 people and that includes the priest. To open up a church with 1/3rd seating capacity is in conflict with 10 people or less in a group.

Also, people 65 and older are encouraged not to come to mass out of their safety. Also, to fill the church to 1/3rd capacity would mean we would have to have people sign up to attend mass. It would be very difficult to keep track of who was allowed to attend on one weekend and who could attend the next weekend.

Also, it would be very difficult to ensure the safety of those attending. When more people gather in a space the probability of contracting the virus or spreading the virus increases dramatically!

Based on all this conflicting information and at this time not knowing if the Governor will extend the “Stay at Home Order,” beyond May 18; at this time we are going to continue with no public masses. Stay posted. I am going to wait and see what the Governor does based on the advice of the medical people. My main concern is your safety and the safety of those in the town communities our parish serves.

The dispensation from the obligation to attend mass remains in effect even with the permission to return to public worship with restrictions on May 18.

Let us continue to pray that this virus dies out soon. And let us continue to pray for the protection of doctors and nurses helping virus patients and pray for those who have died from the virus.

Father Ken O’Hotto
Your Pastor & Spiritual Father
P.S. Our Lady of Grace, pray for us


Fr. O’Hotto Update – April 7, 2020

Dear Parishioners;

The “Stay at Home Order” is difficult for all of us, but we must continue observing it for the good of all. The next two weeks are going to become more difficult. There will be many more cases and deaths because of the virus in our state and country! More than likely, the Governor will extend on this Friday, April 10th (when the order was to expire) the “Stay at Home Order” until the end of the month.

We cannot live stream the Holy Week Services because we do not have internet in the church. We are checking into recording and then replay on the website. We are working to see if it will work to get the recording over to a website format.

God will be with us. He is not only with us during the good times, He is also with us during the bad times.

Here are some words from scripture to nourish our souls during the difficult time and for the more difficult time ahead:

Psalm 31

In you O Lord, I take refuge.
Let me never be put to shame.
In Your justice, set me free
Hear me and speedily rescue me.

Be a rock of refuge for me.
A mighty stronghold to save me,
For you are my rock, my stronghold.
For your name’s sake lead me and guide me.

Have mercy on me, O Lord,
For I am in distress.
Tears have wasted my eyes,
My throat and my heart.

For my life is spent with sorrow
And my years with sighs.
Affliction has broken down my strength.

But as for me, I trust in you, Lord,
I say: “You are my God.
My life is in your hands, deliver me.

Let your face shine on your servant,
Save me in our love.”

Be strong, let your heart take courage,
All who hope in the Lord.

Let us continue to pray and ask the Lord to have mercy on us and deliver us! Let us continue to put our faith and hope in God, for He is our rock!

Missing you, but you are close in my thoughts and prayers.

Remember there are confessions today, April 7th from 4:30 – 5:30pm and Wednesday, April 8th from 6:00-7:00pm



Here are some scripture passages to nourish our souls during this time of crisis and to help us pray – 3/31/2020

From Psalm 119
Lord, I am deeply afflicted
By your word give me life.

From Psalm 70
O God, make haste to my rescue,
Lord, come to my aid!
Come to me, O God.
You are my rescuer, my help
O Lord, do not delay.

From Psalm 126
Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage
As streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears
Will sing when they reap.

From Psalm 79
O God our Savior, come to our help,
Come for the sake of the glory of Your name.
O Lord our God, forgive us our sins,
Rescue us for the sake of Your name.

Prayer from Liturgy of the Hours
“God, our help and deliverer, do not abandon us….
But deliver us from evil and turn our tears and struggles into joy.”

Father Ken O’Hotto
Your Pastor and Spiritual Father


Governor’s “Stay At Home Order” 3/27/2020

The Governor’s “Stay at Home Order” starts at 11:59pm tonight, Friday, March 27th and lasts through April 10th. Please follow this order to cut down on the spread of the coronavirus. As you know, we can go out to get groceries if really needed, and to go to the pharmacy or to get gas. And you can go for walks. Remember to keep the social distancing of 6 ft. away from others, even when outside!

As Christians we pray and work for the common good on a regular basis. We especially need to do that now by observing the Stay at Home Order! Let us all do our part and make the sacrifice. After all, we are still in Lent, and Lent is a time to make sacrifices!

Let us continue to knock on Heaven’s door with our prayers for God’s help, healing, protection, and deliverance.

Let us pray, Lord God, You love mercy and tenderness, you give life and overcome death. Look upon the many wounds of your Church; restore it to health by your risen Son, so that it may sing a new song in your praise. Amen. Our Lady of Grace, pray for us!
Praying for you!
Father Ken O’Hotto
Your Pastor and Spiritual Father
P.S. Check on your elderly relatives and neighbors.


Note From Father O’Hotto

Dear Parishioners

The Archbishop has suspended all public masses, weekday and weekend until further notice.  State Officials have communicated to religious leaders that the next two weeks are critical for containment of the coronavirus. Drastic measures are required!

Effective today, March 19, all masses at St. Mary’s are canceled until further notice. (EWTN has masses broadcasted every day. Relevant Radio also has the mass broadcasted.) Stations of the Cross are canceled. Adoration Chapel closed at noon today until further notice. Some did not want me to open Adoration this past Tuesday but I did because of only 1 person being in the chapel at a time, unless, a married couple are in adoration together. Plus, I thought during the crisis, all the more so we should pray before God’s presence and seek His help and protection.  What made me decide to close Adoration in addition to the next 2 weeks being critical to contain the virus, is that medical people are saying the virus can live in the air up to 3 hours. Because our Adoration Chapel is small I decided to cancel adoration for the safety of all. Earlier this week all meetings/events were canceled until further notice. When the Governor closed schools on Sunday, I directed that Faith Formation classes and Adult Ed be canceled until further notice. With information that is provided, and it changes hourly, I have made changes.

Effective immediately the parish office will be open but closed to visitors. We will answer the phone and communicate via email. Contact the parish at 763-658-4319 ext. 21 with your email address.

In the meantime let us look out for one another and help one another and support one another.  Check on elderly relatives, parishioners and neighbors with a phone call. When you call them up say a prayer with them. If someone is sick, prepare a meal for them and tell them you will leave it at their door. Offer to obtain groceries for those on self-quarantine, again, leave it at their door.  Let us all bring the love, kindness and compassion of the Lord to one another, because this is what are to do in crisis or not. Let us pray for one another and for our government and spiritual leaders. God will be with us to deliver us from this evil (virus).

We are all dealing with an unprecedented crisis. Society and the Church has to take drastic measures for the welfare and the safety of all. Government leaders and Spiritual leaders will error on the side of safety. We all need to be patient and understanding. We are all on uncharted  waters. This is stressful for all of us. We need to support one another and tap God’s help, strength, support, and protection Check this site and I will communicate information when appropriate.

Let us all knock on heaven’s door with prayers that God may help us and have mercy on us.

In Christ’s Service, Your Pastor and Spiritual Father
Father Ken O’Hotto