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Friday, 5/8/20 Office of Worship memos

Updated: May 22, 2020

You can read the latest memos regarding Mass and the Sacraments of Initiation [here] and [here]. Both are hosted on the diocesan website. Here are a few excerpts:

- Bishop Larry Silva will be extending the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday through June 30, 2020 for all the faithful. Thus, when our churches are open for Mass, no one is obliged to attend until further notice. Those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to another person with the virus are not permitted to attend church services until they are cleared by their doctor. Those at risk because of an underlying health issue are strongly encouraged to avoid the risk of attending public celebrations of the Mass.

- Each pastor, with the assistance of the staff, needs to calculate the number of people his church/mission can accommodate for Mass while observing six-foot social distancing between all participants.

- Develop a plan for the sanitizing/disinfecting of highly touched surfaces before and after each Mass (including restrooms). This will include acquiring supplies, which are currently in high demand.

- Each pastor will determine the number of Masses he can reasonably celebrate on Saturday night and on Sunday... Since these are unusual circumstances, a priest may celebrate three Masses a day.

- People entering the church and during the celebration of Mass will wear a mask (or other face covering). Only the priest, deacon and those in the sanctuary will not wear masks. However, at the time for receiving Communion, the priest, deacon and the minimal number of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion needed to assist will put on masks, while the people approaching for Holy Communion will momentarily remove their masks, then replace them once the sacred host has been consumed.

- During the Mass, the people will only receive the Holy Communion under [one species] (the Eucharist). For those who are gluten intolerant, special arrangements are to be made with the pastor. It is encouraged that communicants received Communion by hand. Communion by tongue is not prohibited.

- Celebrations of the sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion scheduled for Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020 are postponed until further notice.

- When the “stay at home” order is lifted, pastors in Transition Group 3 may renew their plans to confirm and give First Holy Communion at the parish. Pastors are to contact Fr. Mark Gantley at the Tribunal Office ( to once again request delegation to confirm and submit the parish’s new plan for the celebration of the sacraments. Confirmation and First Holy Communion must be celebrated before November 28, 2020.

- Bishop Silva has delegated to each pastor [the] authority [to choose a date to celebrate the sacraments of initiation outside of the Triduum]. The date should be on a Sunday or Solemnity (or its Vigil Mass) within the first two months of reopening of the churches.

Jean II Restout,Pentecost, oil on canvas, 1732 [Wikipedia]


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