Eastside Pastoral Region - Guidelines for Returning to Mass (5/18/2020)
I am sure you have heard that public celebrations of the Eucharist will begin on Monday, May 25. I know that this has been a difficult period, and all of you have been in my prayers. With the opening of churches, there are detailed guidelines on how to gather at church. The two most important overriding items to be stressed are, first and foremost, the safety and health of all who enter the church and, secondly, that the guidelines have to be strictly followed to ensure a safe environment for Mass. The guidelines below elaborate upon the procedures.
I also want to make clear that the Archbishop and I wish to continue to make known that all are exempt from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass during this period of physical distancing.
Since the faithful have been dispensed from their Sunday obligation, their desire to participate in Mass could be fulfilled on any day of the week.
Anyone unable to be part of large gatherings or who has health issues should refrain from attending. Here in the region we will continue to livestream masses on the weekdays and on the weekends.
Our Masses for the region will follow the regular schedule.
Because of the need to physically distance ourselves from others, St. Anthony will have a capacity of only 36 people. St. Cecilia will have a capacity of 175 people. SMSJ will have a capacity of 50 people. Capacity is determined by proper social distancing of six feet apart per each household
Once that number is attained, no one else can be admitted. The first week that Masses are publicly available will give us a good barometer of whether we should add Masses to the schedule.
Know that Masses will be succinct and that before and after every Mass the church will be disinfected, and any trash will be removed. We ask that all wear a mask, except as noted below. For your convenience, we will have a supply of masks at the door of the church, just in case. These procedures will be monitored and adjusted to best meet the needs of our communities.
Eastside Pastoral Region
Guidelines for Observing Social Distancing and Other Health Requirements for the Celebration of Mass
The Bishops of Ohio have established the following common practices in the celebration of Mass to fulfill the requirements of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Archbishop Schnurr has dispensed all the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday. Therefore,
Those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to another with the virus within 14 days are not permitted to enter the church, in accordance with national, state and local health directives.
Those who are at risk because of an underlying health issue are strongly encouraged, for their own health, to avoid the risk of attending public celebrations of the Mass.
We will continue to livestream the 9AM daily Mass and weekend Masses so that those unable to attend in person may maintain a spiritual connection.
2. Appropriate cleaning of high-use areas within the church will be performed before and after each service.
The pews utilized by the assembly will be cleaned with disinfectant.
All hymnals and missalettes have been removed from the pews and are being stored for the duration of the pandemic. No materials may be left in the pews.
Restroom facilities and door handles, push plates, and knobs will be sanitized after each service.
Holy water fonts will remain empty until further notice.
Hand sanitizer will be made available throughout the church.
All those who enter church are strongly encouraged to wear a mask. Children under the age of 5 do not need to wear a mask.
1. Please enter the church through the side doors so that we can have an accurate count of who is in the church. You may exit through any door, keeping the proper distance. Doors will be propped open before Mass and at the end of Mass to assist in ease of entry and exit.
2. Staff, ushers or other volunteers will assist with directing people to pews (if you have a handicap need, an usher will assist you).
3. Families are to maintain six-foot distancing between their family and other families or individuals throughout the celebration of Mass.
Seating is arranged such that six feet of distance can be maintained between members of one household and members of another.
Pews will be left vacant in between congregants such that six feet of distance can be maintained in all directions
4. Offertory processions are suspended as is the sign of peace. Stationary offertory baskets will be used for donations from the assembly; these baskets will be located at the communion stations. Please place your offering in the basket when you go up for Communion.
5. For the distribution of Communion, ushers or other volunteers will ensure six-foot distancing in the Communion line. Floor markings will be placed six feet apart in the aisles in which the congregation approaches the sanctuary for Communion to facilitate proper social distancing.
6. Distribution of Holy Communion from the chalice is prohibited to the assembly. For those who suffer from celiac disease, special arrangements are to be made with the pastor.
7. Maintaining a single-file line is necessary for the distribution of Holy Communion so that the Communion minister and communicant can maintain social distancing. Please follow the instructions of the priests and ushers for the distribution of Communion.
8. Communicants are to receive the Host in the hand, in keeping with the advice of state health officials.
9. When approaching the Communion minister, the communicant is to receive the Communion Host and then step aside, pull down his/her mask in order to consume the Communion Host, and then again replace the mask over the face.
1. Family units should depart the church in an organized manner wearing masks and observing six feet of distance between other households.
2. Ushers are not to hand out bulletins or other materials. They may be picked up on the tables by the doors. Bulletins will be available online as always.
3. There are to be no receptions or social gatherings (e.g., coffee and doughnuts) following Mass.
4. Pews and other high-traffic areas of the church will be wiped down before the next service, with the removal of trash and other items from the pews.
Eastside Pastoral Region
on Tuesday, May 19 at 7:53AM