GUIDELINES for returning to Mass
Our bishop, Bishop Daniel Thomas, recently published guidelines about returning to Mass. As of right now, the plan is to return Sunday Masses on the weekend of May 30-31, as we celebrate the great and tremendous Solemnity of Pentecost. We will actually have a soft opening for Mass, celebrating public Mass on the weekdays leading up to Pentecost. As I mentioned last week, Mass may be a little different than we've been accustomed to in the past. While we don't yet have final plans for our parishes, I thought it would be good to share with you the guidelines given by the Diocese and by Bishop Thomas.
- The faithful are still dispensed from the obligation to attend Holy Mass during this time
- Processions through the congregation at the beginning and end of the liturgy should be continued during this time
- No Presentation of the Gifts during this time
- The Sign of Peace continues to be suspended during this time. The faithful should be reminded that there is to be no physical contact (handholding) during the Lord's Prayer
- The distribution of the Precious Blood from the chalice continues to be suspended during this time
- Baptismal fonts and holy water stoops remain empty
- Social distancing guidelines apply in the church (how we will do this is being finalized)
- The capacity of the church is not to exceed 50% of fire code regulations
- A limited number of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will be utilized, if any
- Social gatherings before or after Mass are discouraged, namely no receptions, no Doughnut Sundays, etc.
- Sanitizing and disinfecting high use areas of the church: doors, pews, chairs, restrooms, etc.
- Doors may be propped open to avoid repeated contact and to allow for better ventilation
- All hymnals and missalettes should be removed and stored for the duration of the pandemic
- Bulletins should be placed on tables near the exits for the faithful
- No collection taken up during the Mass; collection baskets will be placed elsewhere so that the faithful may deposit their donation as they enter or depart
- Those who are elderly, sick, symptomatic or at greater risk should be strongly encouraged to stay home
- Face masks/coverings are highly encouraged
- Hand sanitizer should be made available at all entrances
How these guidelines will be implemented here will published soon. I strongly recommend using the resources on this website published by the Diocese of Toledo: https://www.reconnecttoledo.org. This includes the guidelines for sacraments and liturgies, but it also includes spiritual resources. It's definitely worth a look. Have a great week!