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!