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.