When Father Michael Shea, C.M., associate director of the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia, welcomed people back to the shrine for in-person worship on Monday, June 15 for the first time since March, those present in the pews applauded. This applause echoes the sentiment of the Vincentian priests and brothers in carefully returning to in-person worship: We are so happy to be back. The response to our reopening has been enthusiastic, and it’s an honor to be able to welcome people home to Our Lady’s house and join together in safe, enriching and spiritually satisfying prayer.
The last few months have been trying. We have seen a tragic loss of life by both disease and injustice, record rates of unemployment, and unprecedented changes to the way we conduct our daily lives. As our country begins the healing process and a slow return to our daily routines, the Miraculous Medal Shrine has opened its doors once again for our community to seek hope and consolation in prayer to the Blessed Mother.
Yet as we navigate a safe return to the shrine amid the coronavirus pandemic, we need to maintain precautions to safeguard the health and well-being of our community, congregants and staff. With this in mind, we wish to remind those interested in attending that we have regulations in place to protect our community. (Please visit our website for more information about what to expect.)
It’s important for each of us to do our part to keep each other safe. While we recognize that these restrictions may be a small inconvenience, we respectfully ask visitors to sacrifice their comfort for our collective safety. We are grateful for the staff members at the shrine who have gone out of their way to ensure a smooth and safe transition back to in-person worship. They are taking on new roles as ushers, elevator operators and mask distributors to help us worship together safely.
If you are turned away due to limited capacity at any time, please know that we will now pray the novena before 12:05 p.m. Masses Tuesday through Friday to give everyone the opportunity to spend time in prayer with the Blessed Mother. Plan to arrive 15-20 minutes before the beginning of Mass to pray the novena with us. In addition, the shrine is open every day for personal prayer.
And lastly, if you or a family member are ill, immunocompromised, or otherwise feel cautious about joining us in person, rest assured that the Miraculous Medal Shrine will continue to livestream Monday novenas on Facebook at Facebook.com/miraculousmedalshrinepa and on our website at MiraculousMedal.org/Livestream. Your safety is our top priority, and we cherish the opportunity to connect with you virtually.
As Vincentians, we are pleased to be doing what the Blessed Mother asked us to do in spreading her message of hope through the Miraculous Medal. We welcome you home to Mary’s house to join us in prayer.
Father Michael Carroll, C.M., is the director of the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Germantown, Philadelphia.
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