New research indicates that the highly contagious coronavirus may be passed to people not just through surface contact and breath droplets but also through the air.Because of this, it is even more important that we are diligent about mask wearing. By wearing a mask, we are protecting each other.
At this time, all parishes should be using the minimal number of liturgical ministers possible to celebrate Mass. Every liturgical minister (including deacons) must wear a mask and observe physical distancing during the Mass. The only exceptions for wearing a mask are:
For the priest celebrant
When a lector or deacon is reading the Sacred Scriptures at which time, they must be 12 feet away from anyone else.
When a cantor is singing the Psalms at which time, they must be 30 feet away from anyone else. (Note: It is highly recommended that cantors wear masks at all times; it should be an exception that the cantor does not wear a mask)
At the beginning of Mass, please announce the key changes that people will see during the mass, and also remind them that they should wear their face covering for the entirety of the Mass. If they do not have a mask when they arrive, please offer them one. If they refuse to wear one, please ask if they have a medical reason for not wearing one. (Please note you cannot ask WHAT the medical condition is.) If they do, please place them in a section where they have 10-12 feet of distance rather than 6 feet of distance.If they do not have a medical reason, ask them to consider attending Mass through livestream. If they insist on attending in person and not complying with the stated requirement or having a medical reason to do so, please place them at the back of the church with at least 10-12 feet of physical distancing. Please invite them to a conversation, perhaps with someone on the COVID-19 taskforce at a mutually agreed upon time later that week. **Each parish may want to limit the number of people who may attend Mass while refusing to wear a mask and when that limited quota is filled then no additional such persons may attend that Mass.
If a substantial number of congregants are uncooperative with this requirement then permission to celebrate public Mass may be withdrawn from the parish in question. It may be advisable for
parishioners to know that a safe and sanitary environment is necessary pre-condition for the public celebration of the Mass.
We are eager to hear how Mass Re-opening is going in your parish. Please take this short survey to help us understand what’s going well, what can be improved and how we can better support you. Please complete by next Monday, July 13th.Click here
Checklists for Parish Ministry and Office Reopening
We want to make it easier for your teams to plan for the safe reopening of the parish offices, as well as parish ministry activities. Please review these 2 checklists and make sure ministry leaders are aware of these requirements:
In phase one, we recommended that confession not be publicized to avoid a gathering. However, with new guidelines around church capacity in phase two (25% or 200 whichever is less) and phase three (50% or 400 whichever is less) we can and should advertise the sacrament of confession. To help minimize the risk of exposure, we recommend considering the following actions, in addition to the Thomistic Institute guidelines
There are to be no logs or registration for confession to maintain the privacy of the penitent.
Physical distancing is required. Please use clear signage and tape/marking on the ground for people to safely stand while waiting.
Remove all books, brochures or items that a penitent may touch while waiting.
Facial covering is required throughout the confession and highly recommended for the priest.
Confessions should not be in a tight space. They should be in a larger room where confidential conversation can still be held.
If possible, we recommend using a screen to block the airflow between priest and penitent.
The penitent should always have the option of confessing their sins anonymously.
Ensure at least 6 feet of space between the priest and penitent.
We advise using a chair without armrests or cleansing the armrests with a sanitizer between each person.
You may also consider providing this sacrament in such a way that the penitent remains standing to ensure proper distance while minimizing the surfaces that are touched.
Provide ventilation and fresh air exchange into the space using fans and open windows if necessary.
At the end of the confession time, conduct the same cleaning protocol as you would after Mass.
In cases of hospital or facility calls, any priest can respond to these assuming the personal protective equipment is available to him. Please contact Joe Cotton for questions related to hospital and facility calls.
In cases of a home or community call, proper intake of screening questions should be conducted over the phone, to be sure the person or anyone in their household is not exhibiting signs of COVID-19. If screening is passed, any priest can respond to anointing call.
If the screening fails, or the person is known to have COVID-19, the dean or Nick Schoen should be contacted to locate a priest trained with and in possession of an “anointing kit”.
In phase one, the church can be open for private prayer but adoration of the blessed sacrament is not recommended. However, with new guidelines around church capacity in phase two (25% or 200 whichever is less) and phase three (50% or 400 whichever is less) we can and should be advertise adoration. To help minimize the risk of exposure, we recommend considering the following actions:
Keep a log for the purpose of contact tracing if needed.
Facial covering is required throughout adoration.
6 foot physical distancing is required. Please use clear signage and tape/marking on the ground or pew for people to safely sit.
Remove all books, brochures or items that can be picked up to read or held while adoring.
Adoration chapels or spaces should have a clear indication of capacity and limit the number inside per the phase guidelines with proper physical distancing.
We advise using chairs without armrests.
Provide ventilation and fresh air exchange into the space using fans if necessary.
At the end of the adoration, conduct the same cleaning protocol as you would after Mass.
If this is perpetual adoration, conduct the cleaning protocol twice daily as well as provide directions for adorers to cleanse the armrests with a sanitizer between each person.
Liturgy Webinar with Wedding and Funeral Resources
We received word from the Governor’s Office that we can expand the number of people allowed for an outdoor Mass. “To the extent that an increased capacity is permitted inside, then the same number of people are permitted outside.” This means that outdoor Mass may now be held with up to 200 people – keeping in mind all requirements around face coverings, 6-foot physical distancing and all safety measures outlined in the parish reopening plan. If you would like to expand your outdoor Mass, please send your addendum to SeattleMass2020@seattlearch.org.