May 19, 2021
NEW COVID-19 LITURGICAL PROTOCOLS:
- Those who are fully vaccinated may wear a face-covering and social distance but are no longer required to do so in churches.
- Those who have not been fully vaccinated are to continue wearing face-coverings and to practice social distancing to protect themselves and others in churches. Because a parish community – and our society – requires mutual trust and a commitment to the common good, each individual is asked to make the best decisions for himself as well as for others. Parishes do not have the responsibility to verify who is and who is not vaccinated.
- Each parish is to provide a portion of the church – with a size to be determined by the pastor – where social distancing and face-coverings are consistently maintained.
- The Sign of Peace may resume with the normal wording, “Offerte vobis pacem / Let us offer each other the sign of peace,” allowing parishioners and families to make their own determinations about how widely to share some sign of peace.
COVID LITURGICAL PROTOCOLS WHICH REMAIN IN PLACE:
- Parishes should continue to provide signage about current COVID protocols.
- Parishes should keep doors open to ventilate churches as they are able.
- Parishes are encouraged to continue the COVID arrangement of vessels for bread/wine on the altar.
- Clergy and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should continue to wear masks while distributing Holy Communion.
- Parishes are encouraged to maintain sanitization stations at the locations of the distribution of Holy Communion.
- Parishes are to continue to refrain from the distribution of the Chalice to the faithful (except for a Bride and Groom on their wedding day).
PARTICULAR DISPENSATION INFORMATION
Archbishop Vigneron announced that the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days expired on Saturday, March 13, 2021. In its place, he has granted a number of particular dispensations for the faithful who may find themselves in specific circumstances.
Please read below for information about these specific dispensations and visit aod.org/comehometohope to learn more about how our parishes are working to keep everyone safe at Mass as well as tips and advice for inviting friends and family to attend Mass with you.
Considering the grave obligation we have of being physically present with our brothers and sisters at Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation for the Eucharist, each of us is asked to make a good and sincere judgement as to whether these circumstances apply or not. Where doubt or confusion persists, consult any priest for clarity.
While the general dispensation is removed, there are specific instances where the dispensation will continue, as well as those circumstances where there is no obligation in the first place. One does not have an obligation to attend Mass on Sunday in the following circumstances:
- You are ill or your health condition would be significantly compromised if you were to contract a communicable illness (i.e., you have underlying conditions or are in a high-risk category). Please use the dispensation and do not attend Mass.
- You exhibit flu-like symptoms. Please use the dispensation and do not attend Mass.
- You have good reason to think you might be asymptomatic of a contagious illness (e.g., you were in recent contact with someone who tested positive for a contagious illness such as COVID or influenza). Please use the dispensation and do not attend Mass.
- You care for the sick, homebound, or infirmed.
- You are pregnant.
- Those 65 years of age or older (per the CDC’s recommendation of high-risk individuals).
- You cannot attend Mass through no fault of your own (e.g., no Mass is offered, you are infirmed, or, while wanting to go, you are prevented for some reason you cannot control (e.g., your ride did not show up, the church was at capacity).
- If you have significant fear or anxiety of becoming ill by being at Mass.
For questions about the application of any of these, please contact your pastor.
These categories will be reviewed in due course and revised as needed.
Those within categories #1-8 above must still observe the Lord’s Day and are encouraged to spend time in prayer on Sunday, meditating on the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection; an excellent way to do this is through participating in a broadcast of the Sunday Mass.