Saint Anselm Abbey Responds to the Coronavirus

By Brother Francis McCarty, O.S.B. | March 13, 2020

With the coronavirus now spreading through the United States, we are taking steps to help prevent the spread of the disease. We are relying on directives from the Diocese of Manchester and the Saint Anselm College Pandemic Preparedness and Response Task Force to shape our response. This page will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

Update: March 18, 2020 - New Directives from the Diocese of Manchester

In cooperation with the March 17, 2020 directive from the Diocese of Manchester, all liturgies in the Abbey Church (Mass and Liturgy of the Hours) are now closed to the publicFor those who remain on campus, the Abbey Church remains open from 5:30 am to 7:30 pm for private prayer.

Please know that members of our community continue to pray for all of you during this difficult time.

To read the latest directive from the Diocese of Manchester, click here.

Update: March 14, 2020 - Message to Campus Community


Dear Members of the Saint Anselm College Community,

Nearly 3 weeks ago, we took up the three-fold Lenten observance of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  During this season of grace, we take on these penances so that we may “look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing” (Rule of Saint Benedict, 49:7).  With the recent announcement from our College leadership, our community will take on an additional penance, the unanticipated and unparalleled penance of disruption.  This disruption, while a necessary precaution, will be difficult, but will also be endured in faith by our community in the days and weeks to come.

At Saint Anselm Abbey, our life of prayer and work continues albeit absent so many familiar faces.  We proceed with the prayer and work inherent in our monastic vocation, as monks of this community have done for the past 131 years.  When we gather for prayer in the Abbey Church, we will especially be praying for the world, for an end to disease, for an end to suffering, for our governmental leaders, and most especially for all of you, our beloved students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and friends.  The heart of the Saint Anselm campus, our Abbey Church, will continue to beat during this time of disruption and uncertainty.

We are grateful to our faculty and staff who carry on our work of Catholic education throughout this difficult time. We are especially grateful to all of our College employees who are working tirelessly to keep our community healthy.  We wish all our students safe travels to their respective homes, and pray for their well-being and their expeditious return.


Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B. and the Monks of Saint Anselm Abbey

P.S. For those who still remain on campus, we will continue our normal prayer schedule tomorrow with Mass at 11 AM.  There will be no 7 PM Mass.  Beginning Monday, March 16, we will adopt our Out of Session Schedule with Mass at 8:30 AM.  If you are feeling well, please consider joining us.


Directives from the Diocese of Manchester

On Thursday March 12, 2020, the Bishop of Manchester released the following directives for the faithful of the Diocese of Manchester. These directives are now in place at Saint Anselm Abbey.

  1. Practice good hygiene and direct extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to do the same, washing their hands before Mass begins or even using an alcohol-based solution before and after distributing Holy Communion
  2. Assure people that if they are sick, they are not obliged to attend Mass and, in fact, should not attend.
  3. Coffee socials after Mass are to be suspended.
  4. Suspend the Sign of Peace.
  5. Suspend distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful via the chalice.


More information on the Diocese of Manchester's response to the coronavirus can be found here.


Directives from the Saint Anselm College Pandemic Preparedness and Response Task Force

Given the continued concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), we have considered best practices, have noted the guidelines from the Preparedness Task Force of limiting access to campus to those with current Saint Anselm identification (current faculty, staff, students, monastic community). Please note that these limitations to access to the college (noted above) includes access to the Abbey Church and all liturgies.

Therefore, please note the following:

  1. Campus Ministry has suspended all noon time Masses for the foreseeable future.
  2. All liturgies in the Abbey church are restricted to members of the Saint Anselm Community (as identified above).
  3. The Sunday 7pm Mass is suspended until further notice.

More information from the Saint Anselm College Pandemic Preparedness and Response Task Force can be found here.