What to expect when you return to Mass: a short guide

| May 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

Hand sanitizer available at an Italian church entrance. iStock/Ale Barone

When parishes resume public Masses, the faithful can expect several changes. The following is adapted from directives the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Worship sent May 8 to parishes and Catholic institutions in the archdiocese.

  • Watch for parish communication before Mass alerting you to any changes in schedule, place or procedures.
  • You might have to sign up to attend Mass online or through some other means, to help the parish limit occupancy to approved numbers. Your parish may adjust the Mass schedule or add Mass times in order to serve more people.
  • Mass may be held outdoors, with you remaining in your vehicle.
  • If Mass is in the church, church doors may be propped open before Mass to minimize touch, and windows may be open to maximize air circulation.
  • Some doors might be designated “entrance only” or “exit only.” Ushers might be stationed near doors to help people maintain social distancing as they enter. They also will count people as they enter the church, and not allow more people to enter when the church has reached the approved capacity. If you cannot enter, you’ll be encouraged to participate from outside or return for a later liturgy. Some parishes might livestream the Mass in a secondary space, such as a school gym.
  • If you’re older than 2, you are strongly urged to wear a face mask.
  • Signs will be posted to remind you of social distancing and sanitary guidelines.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at entrances, but pastors might encourage you to bring your own.
  • Expect that high-use parts of the church, including restrooms, will be disinfected before and after each liturgy.
  • Baptismal fonts and holy water stoups will be empty.
  • Hymnals, missalettes and other shared items, such as children’s toys, will be removed from common areas. Digital projection screens might be used instead, or you might be able to access readings and prayers using your smartphone.
  • You need to remain at least 6 feet away from others outside your own household during Mass — including when entering and leaving, on sidewalks, in parking lots and other common spaces, indoors and outdoors.
  • Pews might be taped or roped off, and pews might be marked with 6-foot intervals, to help maintain social distancing within the church.
  • “Cry rooms” will be unavailable, because social distancing is difficult in those spaces.
  • When more than 10 people are at Mass, Communion will be distributed to the congregation after Mass.
  • At the beginning and end of Mass, the priest may choose not to process through the assembly.
  • There won’t be altar servers, and there will likely be fewer liturgical ministers than usual.
  • There will not be congregational singing or choirs, since singing expels more respiratory particles than speaking. Soloists or instrumental music may be used instead.
  • The collection will not be taken by “passing the plate” — or basket. Online donations are best.
  • You won’t exchange the sign of peace, or, in the parishes where it is the custom, hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer.
  • When you approach the altar for Communion, mind social distancing. Floors or pews will be marked to help. In some parishes, you might be asked to remain in your pew, and Communion will be brought to you.
  • If a priest or deacon is over age 65, he should not distribute Communion. Extraordinary ministers will distribute holy Communion instead. Whomever is distributing Communion should wear masks.
  • Keep your face mask on while the minister holds up the host and says, “The body of Christ.” Reply, “Amen,” and then remove your face mask to receive Communion.
  • You are recommended to receive Communion in the hand. You may not wear gloves or receive the Eucharist in a disposable item such as a cup, tissue or plate. You will not be able to receive the Precious Blood at this time.
  • If the minister touches your face or hand while giving you Communion, he will sanitize his hands before giving the next person Communion.
  • As you leave, ushers may help you maintain social distancing, perhaps by dismissing pews one row at a time.
  • Bulletins will not be handed out. They might be available in a stack, but electronic access is preferred.

Tags: , ,

Category: Featured, Local News