The diocese is ready to assist Catholics throughout Northeast Ohio and beyond as restrictions are lifted. Safety, support and spiritual care are of greatest concern. Each week Fr. Don Oleksiak will address questions and provide a summary of solutions. This section will be updated frequently.
Disposable masks can be ordered online from a variety of vendors, Ebay or Amazon. At present, Ebay and Amazon guarantee delivery before churches reopen on May 25. Masks and other PPE may be found HERE online. Please have disposable masks on hand for those who arrive without one.
Yes, reusable masks help prevent an infected person from spreading the disease. They do not guarantee protection from contagion. It is recommended that people bring their own masks.
Cantors/vocal soloists who are physically isolated from the assembly and from any instrumentalists do not need to wear a mask while singing. However, care should be given to spraying a used microphone with Lysol or other disinfectant after each Mass.
Choirs are not recommended at this time. Cantors/vocal soloists who are physically isolated may be utilized, but the goal of full, conscious, active participation is defeated if a vocal soloist replaces the congregation. So, if used, a vocal soloist in physical isolation should only sing things that the assembly would not normally sing or that may be relegated to a schola, and should not sing familiar songs, to avoid people singing along. For example, a vocal soloist might sing an unfamiliar psalm at the Entrance, Offertory, or Communion processions. What we do not advise is for a vocal soloist to sing unfamiliar settings of the Responsorial Psalm or the Mass ordinary.
It is recommended that pews and kneelers be sanitized after each Mass. If pews are not utilized for a safe period of time (3 days or more), pastors may use their discretion for the cleaning of pews and kneelers.
Each parish will need to plan for the cleaning of their churches with available materials. This may include mops, rags, sprayers and whatever materials may be necessary to disinfect the areas. Disinfecting guidelines and resources may be found HERE.
Any solid surfaces should be wiped down. Soft surfaces may be sprayed with a disinfectant such as Lysol. If you cannot insure proper cleaning between Masses on these surfaces, the chairs may be removed for the time being.
There are shortages of these supplies. The CDC provides some helpful suggestions on utilizing bleach to disinfect. We've set up a facility services page with more information on ordering supplies.
It is not suggested that the priest utilize a mask while in the sanctuary. The same holds true for the deacon and organist, provided that they maintain physical distancing. However, during the distribution of communion, because of the proximity of the minister to the congregant, a mask should be worn both by the one distributing and the one receiving.
Please understand that the guidelines are living documents, and will be adjusted as new information or best practices come to light. Our initial recommendation was for Communion ministers to wear gloves, but subsequent information suggested that gloves were not ideal. Therefore, instead of wearing gloves, Communion ministers should wash and sanitize their hands immediately before and after distributing Communion. Plan to have hand sanitizer nearby and ready to use.
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