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Guidelines for Resuming Limited Public Mass | Effective 9 May 2020

The following guidance is presented to the lay faithful and pastors of the Archdiocese of Denver as public Masses resume, in a limited manner, in the Archdiocese of Denver. Further guidance will be issued as needed.

Public authorities are right to place reasonable limits on gatherings, to discourage unnecessary activities, and to call for physical distancing. At the same time, participation in the Mass and reception of the Eucharist is of great importance for the spiritual good and the overall well-being of the faithful. As Catholics, we maintain that participation in the Sacraments is more important than many other commercial activities considered to be essential.

Considerations for those participating in Mass:

  • Limited Numbers: Due to the restrictions being observed, the number of people who will be able to attend each Mass will be greatly reduced. Thus, the faithful should not expect to attend more than 1 or 2 Masses during the month of May. This may be different for rural parishes or for accommodations made for outdoor Masses.
  • No Sunday or Holy Day Obligation: The faithful have been dispensed from their Sunday and Holy Day obligation to participate in the Mass until further notice. Keeping the Sabbath holy should include an intentional time in prayer including engagement in the readings for the day, which may be enhanced through watching a pre-recorded or live stream Mass and making spiritual communion. The Archbishop will continue to offer live stream Mass each Sunday. Furthermore, families with children should pray with them and teach them how to keep holy the Sabbath and the live the faith of the Church. Programs are available for families to use at home with their children, e.g., the Augustine Institute, denverparish.org, etc.
  • Discern the Risk: Even with best practices, the risk of infection exists anytime a person leaves their home. The faithful should take under consideration their age, health, who they are bringing, etc. It is still recommended that those 65 or older and those who have severe underlying medical conditions remain at home.
  • Germ Mitigation: Those who attend limited public Masses should: plan to wear a mask, refrain from unnecessarily touching any surfaces, respect social distancing (remaining at least 6-feet away from others), use hand sanitizer when it is available, follow the directions for seating in the church, gym, or outdoors, and stay home if they are sick or symptomatic. Safeguarding the health and welfare of others, not just oneself, is the moral duty of Christians.
  • Prepare Children: For those who may attend Mass with children, make sure that children 3 and older have a mask and understand the need to wear it, and explain social distancing to them.

 

Liturgical Considerations:

  • Suspend the exchange of the Sign of Peace and handholding.
  • Suspend the distribution of the Precious Blood.
  • It is not necessary that the priest be the one who distributes the Eucharist, especially if he is 65 or older; deacons or extraordinary ministers can help.
  • Hand sanitizer should be used by the minister before and after the host is distributed.
  • The host should be placed in the hand in a manner so as to avoid any skin-to-skin touching. Should this occur, hand sanitizer should be used before resuming distribution.
  • The priest, prior to Mass or at the beginning of Mass, should reiterate to the faithful coming forward to receive the Eucharist to maintain 6-feet of distance as they approach the minister. He should instruct the faithful how to receive Communion in the hand in a reverent manner and to self-communicate. While wearing a mask, the faithful should establish a clear open palm pad for the minister to place the host on. Stepping to the side, they should take the host with their opposite hand, pull the mask down, consume the Eucharist, and then replace their mask.
  • Avoid the use of a choir, instead use a cantor or one or two persons singing. It has been demonstrated that singing can increase the spread of the virus, thus congregational singing is not encouraged during this time.