Dear Fellow Parishioners,
As I mentioned in my message last week, we would be providing guidelines for getting “Back to Mass.” As we begin to welcome parishioners back to Mass, it is important to keep in mind that COVID-19 is still out there and a threat to public health. The obligation to attend Mass is still suspended, and those who are at greater risk are encouraged to remain home until risks are reduced.
The Archdiocese of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have provided guidelines to churches for re-opening. It is critical for the safety of our parish and greater community that you review and abide by the following guidelines. These guidelines are also reviewed in a short video (Click here to view video) provided by the Archdiocese. (You may also paste the URL in your browser: https://vimeo.com/421142581).
This is new for all of us, and we are learning as we go. Therefore, everything is subject to change in order to be reverent and safe.
Thank you for your support and cooperation,
- Cardinal Sean dispensed the obligation from Sunday Mass for everyone for the foreseeable future. The Cardinal strongly encourages people who are in vulnerable populations, specifically the elderly and those with existing health concerns, to stay home and not attend Mass. Also, people who are not able to wear a mask for health reasons should probably stay at home. Those people may continue to watch Mass at home on Catholic TV
- Masses will resume on Pentecost (May 30/31) and will follow the regular weekend Mass schedule. Parishioners are encouraged to bring their own bottle of hand sanitizer to church. Otherwise they can use sanitizer provided by the parish and positioned at the entry to the church.
- Social distancing is required to be maintained. Parishioners will be directed where to sit upon entering the church. Only one set of doors will be used to enter the church; all others will be unavailable. Church attendance will be very limited due to the need for social distancing. Attendees who are part of the same immediate household are permitted to sit together. Individuals and those not part of the same immediate household must be seated at least 6 feet apart.
- All attendees must wear face coverings or masks while inside church, and while entering and exiting the church. Children under the age of two should not wear masks.
- Mass will be different. The opening procession, use of hymnals, congregational singing and the sign of peace will be temporarily suspended. There will be no passing of the basket for the offertory. Instead baskets will be available at the entrance for your offering.
- At communion, parishioners should proceed up the center aisle, one pew at a time, still keeping six feet between one another, while still wearing masks. Parishioners not receiving the Eucharist should still get out of their pews to avoid people having to step over them. Parishioners, masks still on, should fully outstretch their arms with cupped hands so the priest can drop the host in their hand. The parishioner should then step aside, lower their mask, consume the host, replace their mask and then return to their pew.
- Parishioners should leave the church as soon as the Mass has ended so as to allow for time for cleaning the church before the next Mass.