Together in Faith: Reopening our churches

Current Liturgical Directives and allowances AS OF MAY 18
• The faithful are dispensed from the Sunday Obligation until further notice.
• Livestreamed Masses may ONLY be celebrated with no congregation present
• No public distribution of Holy Communion – such as drive-thru distribution in the parking lot.
• Sacraments and Rites that are allowed:
• Reconciliation – masks and social distancing of six feet required
• Baptism – must be Outside of Mass with 10 or less people present
• Matrimony – must be Outside of Mass with 10 or less people present
• Funerals – Graveside only with 10 or less peo- ple present
• RCIA Elect and Candidates may be received into the church in gatherings of 10 or less.
• Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament may occur in the church with 10 or less present at one time. Masks and social distancing are required. Adora- tion may also be held in the parking lot if people remain in their cars and can maintain proper so- cial distancing.

General Directives BEGINNING MAY 30, 2020
• Bishop Kopacz will continue to dispense all the faithful from the Sunday Obligation to participate in Mass until further notice.
• The public celebration of Mass will begin on the Solemnity of the Feast of Pentecost at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 30.
• Home Masses: At this time, Masses may not be celebrated in private homes or properties of parishioners. This places everyone at risk.
• The sacraments and rites currently in place are continued with proper social distancing. (See above)
• First Holy Communion and Confirmation celebrations may begin August 1, 2020.
• Bishop Kopacz has delegated individual pastors to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation for the remainder of 2020.
• If a candidate will be moving away prior to August 1, pastors may confer the sacrament individually for this family in the church.
• Social distancing will be kept in accord with the state and local health recommendations and local ordinances.
• Each parish and mission should have a plan in place by May 25, for re-opening that includes seating map, training of ushers and hospitality ministers in the plan, a method for parishioners to sign up for Mass, and a communique sent to parishioners explaining the plan.
• Parish Mass schedules may be expanded to accommodate the faithful but taking great care not to spiritually bankrupt clergy with too many celebrations – a maximum of two vigils on Saturday evening and four masses on Sunday.
• Choir and Ensemble singing and practices are suspended until further notice.
• Livestreaming of Mass may continue. Additionally, livestreaming to overflow crowds in parish centers or gyms on parish campuses though not ideal for participation will be allowed during this time.
• These directives may not encompass every minute detail. The overriding maxim is: use common sense. According to health officials, this virus will linger in our communities for longer than we can project. Stay safe and be vigilant!

• The gifts of bread and wine should be brought to the altar from the credence table in the sanctuary. There is no offertory procession involving congregation members.
• For the offertory, baskets will not be passed in the pews. An offertory station can be used, run by the ushers. Baskets should be sanitized before and after Mass.
• Exchanging the sign of peace should not involve physical contact.
• Distribution of the Precious Blood continues to be suspended.
• Distribution of Holy Communion will be in the hand. Distribution on the tongue is suspended. Medical personnel have emphasized that saliva is one of the worst fluids for transmission.
• Preferably, younger priests and/or younger Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in good health should distribute communion.
• The use of gloves to distribute Holy Communion is no more effective than distributing with the bare hand. Indeed, gloves would have to be changed for each communicant. Use of tongs or other instruments would, likewise, come into contact with each communicant’s hands.
• The Communion Rite is an essential and unmovable element of the Order of Mass. It is not to be celebrated after Mass.
• Masses may not be celebrated in private homes or properties of parishioners.

Safety and Hygiene: The Duty of Every Individual
• Those who are sick or symptomatic should stay home! This includes clergy!
• Vulnerable individuals, those 65 and older or with underlying health conditions, should continue to shelter in place. Families with vulnerable individuals are encouraged to continue to take special precautions.
• We would like for parents to consider the vulnerability of infants, toddlers and small children during this time, considering not bringing them to Mass or to perhaps bring them to a Mass during the week that is less attended rather than one of the busier weekend Masses.
• Wash hands at home and use hand sanitizer upon entering the church.
• Face masks are mandated for all assembly members over the age of two.
• Pastors must use face masks in proximity to parishioners, especially during the distribution of communion.
• Pastors and LEMs should make every effort to clearly communicate good hygienic practices and liturgical alterations to their parishioners prior to May 30, in light of continuing public health concerns.