Return of obligation to attend Mass

Given the drop in illnesses and deaths from the coronavirus, the bishops of the Province of Baltimore (which includes the Diocese of Richmond, and thus St. Francis Parish) and of the Archdiocese of Washington have lifted the dispensation of the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation. Therefore, beginning the weekend of June 26-27, Catholics must once more attend Mass on those occasions. As always, those who are ill or otherwise unable to be in church are not obliged to attend Mass. Read the bishops’ statement in its entirety.

Morning Prayer sung each Wednesday
Morning Prayer sung each Wednesday

Once again, beginning June 23, the St. Francis Schola will lead the office of Morning Prayer, including beautiful, contemplative psalm melodies, every Wednesday at 7 a.m. in the church. Parishioners are invited to start the day off with the official prayers of the universal Church.

7:15 Mass added to Sunday schedule

Beginning Sunday, June 13, the 7:15 a.m. Mass will once more be celebrated at St. Francis Church. Thus the weekend schedule returns to Mass on Saturday at 5 p.m. and on Sunday at 7:15, 8:30, and 11:30 a.m., with CCD classes and adult formation meeting after the 8:30 liturgy.

Farewell event for St. Francis pastor
Farewell event for St. Francis pastor

To thank Fr. Joseph Wamala for his decade of service as pastor of St. Francis Parish and to wish him well in his new assignment in Norfolk, there will be an event in Assisi Hall following the 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday, June 26. More details will follow. All are invited to come and bid farewell to Father Joe.

Revised procedures for attending Mass

Policies for attending Mass at St. Francis: Masks are no longer required for those who have been fully vaccinated, and social distancing is not required (all pews are available). For the time being, seating in Assisi Hall will be available for the 8:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, and the Wednesday noon Mass will continue to be for those who wish to limit their exposure to the general public.

St. Francis to have new pastor

Bishop of the Richmond Diocese Barry Knestout has announced new clergy assignments, and one of those changes means St. Francis will have a new pastor as of July 5. Father Matthias Lusembo from Norfolk will assume his duties in Staunton on that day. At the same time current pastor, Father Joseph Wamala, will become pastor of Christ the King Parish in Norfolk. In other words, Fr. Lusembo and Fr. Wamala are exchanging assignments. Fr. Wamala has been at St. Francis approximately ten years, during which, under his leadership, the parish raised funds for and completed the replacement of the stone on the entire facade of the church building. Both Fr. Lusembo and Fr. Wamala are priests from the country of Uganda. An event to recognize the leadership of Fr. Wamala and bid him farewell will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, in Assisi Hall.

Homilies from Fr. Joseph Wamala

The following recent homilies delivered by pastor Joseph Wamala are available: Pentecost, Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi, Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Livestream of Sunday 8:30 Mass

The Sunday 8:30 a.m. Mass will be livestreamed for those unable to be in the church for the liturgy. See the parish’s Facebook page. A worship aid with the day’s readings and parish announcements is also available.

Adult Faith Formation meets on Sundays at 10 a.m.

Adult Faith Formation meets at 10 a.m. in Assisi Hall each Sunday. The group is now discussing “Lectio: The Case for Jesus.” Join Dr. Brant Pitre as he draws evidence from both early Christian and non-Christian writings attesting to the authenticity, authorship, and dating of the Gospels, and as he gives an in-depth look at the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s Crucifixion, Resurrection, and the proclamation of Christ’s divinity. All adults are invited.

Annual Diocesan Appeal

The annual Catholic Appeal for the Diocese of Richmond is now underway. The easiest way to make your pledge is to visit the appeal website, click on “Donate Now,” and select either to make a one-time donation or to become a recurring donor. From there, follow the prompts for the “2021 Annual Diocesan Appeal.” Be sure to select St. Francis of Assisi (Staunton) as your organization. Additional information is available.

Masses livestreamed on parish Facebook page

For those unable to attend Mass in person, the liturgy from St. Francis is livestreamed on the parish Facebook page on Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and also on weekdays (Tuesday at 5:30, Wednesday-Friday at 12 noon). The videos remain posted after the Mass.

Formed: Catholic content on the web

With a subscription to “Formed,” every St. Francis parishioner has 24/7 access to the best Catholic content on any device, including your computer, smartphone, and tablet with internet access. “Formed” offers video programs that explain the Catholic faith, explore the deepest meaning of marriage, receive Bible studies on a variety of topics, and listen to inspiring audio talks. Presenters include Dr. Tim Gray, Dr. Edward Sri, Dr. Mary Healey, Chris Stefanick, Dr. Scott Hahn, Bishop Robert Barron, and many more. It is very easy to begin your free subscription to “Formed”: Go to Under “How would you like to sign up?” select “I belong to a Parish or Organization.” Enter the parish code: VVW3G4. Enter your name and email address, and that’s it.