The guidelines below are intended to increase safety for those attending public Mass celebrations.
Ushers, Staff & Greeters
- Staff, ushers or other volunteers should wear masks and maintain six feet of physical distance.
- Staff, ushers or other volunteers should assist with directing people to pews specifically marked to maintain appropriate distances between individuals/households.
- Seating should be arranged such that six feet of distance should be maintained between members of one household and another.
- Capacity will be limited to a maximum of 50% of the church’s total capacity in order to assure compliance with social distancing requirements.
Seating of Families
- Families may sit together but are to maintain six feet of distance between their family and other families or individuals throughout the celebration of Mass.
Seating of Individuals
- One or two pews should be left vacant in between congregants such that six feet of distance can be maintained in all directions.
- The procession into church should be simple – preferably from the sacristy, not the front door of the church - and should take the shortest path possible, limiting or eliminating passage through the assembly.
- It is recommended that servers, if utilized, not vest in albs or cassocks. These items cannot be practically laundered between each use.
- Altar servers, if utilized, should be masked.
- No servers should be used to hold the Roman Missal.
- Only a single, individual should utilize the ambo in any given liturgy. Therefore, for the duration of the pandemic, there should be only a single lector for any given liturgy.
- The presider will either utilize the altar for the presidential prayers or may set up a stand for the missal during the recitation of the prayers.
- All concelebrating priests must have their own chalice and no other minister is to receive from the chalice until further notice.
- All liturgical items are to be properly cleansed and sanitized after each use.
- Offertory processions are suspended.
- Stationary baskets should be used for donations from the assembly and should be monitored by the ushers until the donations are collected and handled according to proper protocols in place for handling the collection. Collections baskets should not be passed from one congregant to another, nor should ushers take up the collection from the congregation.
Sign of Peace
- The sign of peace should be omitted.
Instructions for the distribution of communion should be clearly stated prior to the start of distribution by the presider.
For the health and safety of all, reception of Holy Communion is strongly encouraged in the hand to avoid contact with individual's saliva. Holy Communion on the tongue is strongly discouraged for the duration of the pandemic.
- For the distribution of communion, ushers and other volunteers who are masked and gloved will ensure six-foot distancing in the communion line.
- Floor markings shall be placed six feet apart in the aisles in which the congregation approaches the sanctuary for communion to facilitate proper social distancing.
- For the distribution of Holy Communion, a single file for each communion minister is necessary to maintain social distancing. Multiple communion ministers may be used as long as one-way traffic patterns are observed.
Communion Ministers / Sanitizing (both ordinary and extraordinary)
- All Ministers of Holy Communion should wear facemasks.
- Communion ministers must be masked, wash and sanitize their hands immediately before and after distributing Communion and, when at all possible, to utilize a disinfectant wipe or purificator dipped in sanitizing solution (at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol) to sanitize their fingers when incidental contact is made with the communicant before continuing with distribution.
- Sanitizing stations should be located near the communion stations.
- Distribution of the Precious Blood to lay liturgical ministers and to the assembly is suspended until futher notice.
- For those who are gluten intolerant, special arrangements are to be made with the pastor.
- For the health and safety of all, reception of Holy Communion is strongly encouraged in the hand to avoid contact with individual’s saliva*
- Presiders are encouraged to announce that all who wish to receive on the tongue should be last in the communion line to allow for proper sanitizing between each communicant.
- When approaching the Communion minister, the communicant is to pull their mask below the chin and present one hand resting on the palm of the other.
- After responding, “Amen,” the communicant reverently places the Eucharist in his or her mouth and immediately replaces their mask.
*Please Note* If/when incidental contact is made with the communicant during the distribution, Communion ministers should utilize a disinfectant wipe or purificator dipped in sanitizing solution (at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol) to sanitize their fingers before continuing the distribution.
- The closing recessional should be simple, taking the shortest path possible and limiting or eliminating passage through the assembly.