Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the lectures held?

SHORT ANSWER:  

Lectures are held at St. Mary of the Mills's Keesler Parish Center.
The address is 800 Main Street, Laurel, MD 20707.
We are right off I-95 exit 35A or off Route 29 exit 13 towards Laurel.


LONGER ANSWER:
For the past 13 years, we have been meeting on Thursday mornings at the chapel at Pallotti High School and it has worked really well for us. Unfortunately, that location is not an option for us now due to the space needed to social distance in response to COVID.  In July, Fr. Larry Young arrived as the new Pastor of St. Mary of the Mills Church and graciously collaborated with us to meet the needs of TASTE.
 
In evaluating alternative spaces, we considered a number of options and while none were perfect, one was by far the best. To that end, we have reserved the St. Mary’s Keesler Parish Center (800 Main Street, Laurel, MD) on Thursday mornings.  St. Mary’s daily 9:00 a.m. Mass is held in the Keesler Center.  There may be some seats available for the women of TASTE, but we cannot guarantee a seat at Mass.  (There are sufficient seats for our women after mass for our lecture).  Please see attached parish-specific guidelines if you plan to attend. 
 
The good news is that the space is sufficient in size & handicap accessible, has a good sound system & internet access.  The only potential downside is that there may be some background noise from the St. Mary’s food pantry.   This service to the poor is the primary ministry in the Keesler Center on Thursday mornings.  Volunteers will be using carts to move food from the back kitchen to the outside of the building for distribution.  In spite of this, we are optimistic that we can share the space and have a good TASTE lecture from the front of the room.
Where Do I Park?

There are parking spaces right in front of the Keesler Parish Center.  There are spaces on the street and at the parking lot for St. Mary of the Mills Church.

Since there will be many women attending, and the parking lot can get quite full, carpooling is encouraged!

Watch for any fire hydrant and don’t park in front of or too close to them.

Will all lectures be In-Person and at the Keesler Parish Center?
In coordinating with our speakers, some will be presenting "in person" at 10:30 am while others will provide "virtual talks" for us.  For those providing virtual talks, they may be pre-recorded (as Susan Brinkmann did in April) or they  may be virtual live-streaming (allowing us to ask questions if time permits).  
 
In all cases, audio files of the talks will be uploaded to the TASTE website.  When speakers provide their talk in a video format, a YouTube link will be provided.   As of this writing, we hope to have the option to meet in person to view the virtual talks together. 
 
Soon, we will be publishing our schedule to both the website & by email; there will be an annotation indicating if the talk will be in person, pre-recorded, or live-streamed.  That said, the situation can be fluid due to the dynamics of COVID, so we will need to be flexible.  Please review our emails or website for the most current information. 
Will we still have small group sharing during COVID?
For safety reasons we are unable to offer “in person” small group sharing at this time.  We will host “virtual” small group sharing using Zoom.  We will reconsider this decision in the future as the situation changes. 
 
The Zoom small groups will allow for real-time video meetings.   Additionally, a telephone call-in-only number will be provided for those who prefer audio only (or may not be as computer savvy).  
 
We are doing our best to make small group accessible to all who desire to participate.  Rather than our previous model of having just one time where all of the small groups meet, we expect to offer a few Zoom sessions and you will be able to select from various times. 
 
Specific details and Zoom practice opportunities will be sent before TASTE begins on September 17th. 
Are there any safety guidelines that we need to follow at TASTE?
Please note that we will be following St. Mary of the Mills safety guidelines.
  • If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone awaiting test results or who has tested positive, please do not attend.  If you are in a health risk group, you can listen to the speaker from the comfort of your home.  As usual, we will be uploading the talks to the TASTE website. 
  • If you come to TASTE, please don’t forget to bring your mask and wear it for the duration of the program. 
  • Consistent with what is being done in Mass, there will be no singing. 
  • While Marian always encouraged hugs, we will need to practice virtual hugs and social distancing.  When this is over, we will joyfully return to warm, Marian-like hugs!
  • If you go to the 9:00 am Mass at the Keesler Parish Center, please know that there will be a gap between the end of Mass (about 9:45) and the start of TASTE (10:15).
  • The church is open for private prayer and you are welcome to walk over to the church to pray during this period.
Will we have TASTE for Tots Childcare during COVID?
Unfortunately, we will not be able to support TASTE for TOTS during COVID.  That said, we hope that by providing virtual talks and virtual fellowship our moms of young children will be able participate.  
Will TASTE still incorporate prayers?
Once a month, we plan to have virtual prayers.  We will first pray our Prayer for Priests followed by either the Scriptural Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet. 
Can I donate to the food pantry?

YES.  St. Mary's would be grateful for any donations as well as help to raise awareness for the issue.

  • St. Mary of the Mills Parish Pantry provides supplemental groceries each week to those facing hunger in the Laurel community. The church relies on donations to feed the hungry at their door.
  • You don’t need to wait for a food drive! Bins are located in the church vestibule to receive donations when you come to Mass and deliveries are also accepted at the parish office.

Items currently most in need include:

  • Canned meats (tuna, Vienna sausages, SPAM, potted meats, canned chicken)
  • Meat soups, chili, and beef stew
  • Pork n’ beans, baked beans
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Pasta and sauce, canned spaghetti-o’s/ravioli
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Instant rice, potatoes, and other sides
  • Instant oatmeal, cereal, granola bars
  • Cup of noodles, ramen, and macaroni & cheese
  • We cannot take expired food, open packages, bulk sizes, or glass jars. 
With All This Talk Of Children, Am I Going To Be The Only Older Person?

No, we have women of all ages coming.

What If I Registered, But Due To Illness Or Some Other Reason Miss The First Class?

You will be missed, but will have access to the talk on the web site.  You can listen to it at home so that you can participate in the following week's small group discussion. You can also preview the Reflection Questions and  information on the web and/or from the weekly email.  

If I Want To Bring A Friend, But Didn't Get Around To Registering Her, Can She Still Come?

Yes, we'll have temporary name tags for unexpected guests. We ask that they register online for next time so that we have some kind of idea how many women are coming. You are always encouraged to bring friends! To register, go to www.tasteprogram.com/registration

Should I Bring Anything To Class With Me?

You will want to bring a notebook and pen. We also encourage you to bring your Bibles. You should have access to a Bible and a Catechism at home for your Reflection Questions. A great online version of the catechism is http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm

What If I'm Not Catholic, Can I Still Go To Mass?

Absolutely. We welcome all to our liturgies and we highly encourage you to come. You will not be able to receive communion (for reasons we can explain in person) but you are welcome to walk up to the altar with your hands folded across your chest and receive a blessing from the priest.

Does TASTE Cost Money?

No, TASTE is free but if you can afford it, a $5 or more donation is very appreciated. We do not receive money from any parish. We have many expenses to cover. These include: speaker's fees and gifts, copying, name tags, library books purchased, postage, CDs, travel costs for speakers, airfare (has gone way up), supplies, bookmarks, prayer for priests booklets, perfect attendance incentives...