You are on page 1of 9
Catholic Diocese of Victoria Office of the Bishop 1-404 Nelthorpe Steet, Victoria, BC VEX 2Al - Te: 250-479-1331 ~ Fax: 250-479 23 - Web: redvictoria.o1g May 21, 2020 GENERAL DIRECTIVES for the Reopening of Churches during Covid-19 Dear Pastors, Administrators, Deacons, and People of God, Covid-19 has caused tremendous stress and anxiety for us as we have come to recognize that we are all vulnerable. We have continued to be persistent in prayer and participated in opportunities for Mass remotely via live streaming. As we move forward, we must continue to exercise caution as, ‘we prepare to reopen our Churches, in a limited way, to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy together. ‘Though some restrictions have been relaxed, we need to continue to stay vigilant with infection prevention, modelling and monitoring good behaviour, and mandating strict protocols regarding cleaning and sanitization. The strict directives provided by our Provincial authorities, including the limit of all public gatherings for Mass to no more than 50 people, social distancing, ete. must be respected during this time. During this time of uncertainty, we are being called to embrace a new Pentecost, a new reality that will be ushered in with a gentle breeze and a flame of patient love that speaks to the grace of tenderness, As we prepare our faith communities to reopen to celebrate Pentecost together on May 30, 2020, we recognize that each parish has different resources that must be carefully considered. Each parish must take responsibility for following the established Guidelines and Liturgical Directives and make the appropriate adaptations for their individual communities based upon size and resources, and communicate with parishioners via the usual methods of email, webpage, or phone. Due diligence is required as we all have a responsibility to guarantee the well-being of all our communities. DIRECTIVES: 1. DISPENSATION FROM THE OBLIGATION to attend Sunday Mass: Parishioners in the Diocese of Vietoria remain dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, during this initial reopening phase. 2. CHARITY, care and concern for others: Al those attending Mass do so at their own risk and must take responsibility for protecting themselves and others. Individuals may consider the option of wearing a mask to increase their level of safety and comfort. Asan act of supreme charity, the following people must stay home for the sake of others in the community: a People with Covid-19, or those who live with someone with Covid-19. b. People who have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 c. a. ‘The sick, including those with ANY symptoms or feelings of sickness, especially if they have a fever, upper respiratory or flu-like symptoms. ‘Those who have recently travelled outside of Canada. The following are encouraged to stay home: People who live with someone with upper respiratory or flu-like symptoms. People, especially the elderly (over 65 years of age) with underlying or comprised medical conditions. Family members who fe with elderly people or those at risk. COMMUNICATION: Pastors and Administrators, in consultation with their Parish Pastoral Councils, Liturgical Committee, Parish Support Staff and others concerned, must communicate clearly and effectively with their parishioners their plans for when and how they will resume public Masses. Specifically, the communication must cover these areas: > How the parish will determine the 50-person maximum to attend a given Mass? > How the parish will ensure physical distancing? > The measures the parish will take to ensure proper cleaning & sanitizing. ‘The Mass schedule, if altered to allow more time between Masses for cleaning or to provide for additional Masses, should be published and the revised schedule sent to the Chancellor. CONGREGATION LIMITED TO 50 Person Maximum (including the Pastor) Parishioners will sign up to attend a specific Mass at a specific time on a regular basis. Aside from people with special needs, preferential treatment should be avoided. Among the possibilities for assigning parishioners are a rotation based on the first letter of last names; an online ticketing system; or the formation of fixed “community Mass groups.” ‘A sign-up system is the simplest and recommended method for parishes to solicit the names of parishioners who wish to attend a regular Sunday Mass or Mass during the week. Depending on the method of sign-up chosen, the parishioners should be able to choose the ‘Mass they prefer to attend insofar as this is possible. 2|Page Fach “community Mass group” will be assigned a regular Mass time on Saturday, Sunday or a weekday. They may not attend a Mass at another time; nor should they sign up for more than one Mass. Multiple and easily accessible options for sign-up should be employed, such as a combination of methods including online sign-ups, written sign-ups, email, and phone calls. ‘A “first-come, first-served” system, as well as exclusively online or email sign-up systems should be avoided since restriction to these methods might exclude many who otherwise would wish to attend. Signs should be placed on the church doors to indicate the Mass schedule, provide a telephone number, and email address for people wanting to attend Mass. Physical distancing guidelines should be posted on the church doors and, where appropriate, elsewhere inside the church, The Diocese will provide a limited number of posters and social distancing “stand here” decals as templates for each parish to display. ‘A database record of the contact information is required and a detailed list (“attendance roster” or log record) of those who attend each Mass must be retained. In the case of an individual who tests positive for COVID-19, the parish will be able to assist public health officials with tracing by contacting everyone who may have been exposed. RESPONSIBILITIES OF USHERS AND GREETERS: ‘The responsibilities of the volunteer ushers and greeters will actually inerease during this time for they will be the first point of contact for arriving parishioners. They need to be ‘masked, identified by badges or other means, and able to interact with the parishioners while still maintaining physical distancing. ‘The ushers/greeters should have a copy of an “attendance roster” to confirm that those who arrive for Mass have previously signed up and that their contact information is available. Ushers stationed at the church entrance can monitor those who enter, reminding them of the requirement for physical distancing of two metres and for sanitizing their hands. ‘Members of a single household may enter and exit together, since they do not need to practice physical distancing with each other. Hand sanitizing should take place near the entrance to the church for those coming to Mass. ‘A bottle of sanitizer, touched by many, should not be used. Instead, an automatic dispenser or an usher/greeter wearing a mask will need to spray the hands of those entering. The ushers/greeters would also be responsible for pointing out available pews for seating. ‘The ushers/greeters could also be responsible for spacing and limiting parishioners entering the line for communion. 3|Page PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL DISTANCIN( Except for members of the same household, physical distancing is to be observed everywhere on the chureh property (in the church, on the steps, in the parking lot, etc.); close contact with those outside one’s household must not be within two metres of another person. The maximum of 50 people on the Church property (including church, hall, parking lot, etc.) at one time must be strictly followed. ‘Smaller churches may not be able to accommodate 50 people at a time to allow for the required social and physical distancing requirements; therefore, the parish will need to determine the maximum occupancy permitted in their space. ‘Al churches should post the maximum capacity for oecupancy number (50 or under) in a visible space on the doors of the building. People are not to gather in the vestibule or near the doors of the church before or after, Mass. ifthe pastor wishes to greet parishioners after Mass, physical distancing must be ‘maintained and wearing a facemask should be considered. Offertory counting procedures must be enhanced to include hand sanitizers, gloves, and a large well-ventilated area to ensure social distancing is respected. ENTRANCES AND EXISTS: When possible, entrance and exit doors should be propped open as people enter and exit, so that the parishioners need not touch the handles or doors to enter or exit. ‘At least one entrance should be open and accessible to the handicapped. If more than one entrance is open, care must be taken to control the overall number of people entering and to provide for their proper sanitation. When possible, multiple exits should be used at the end of Mass to expedite departure and ‘minimize chances of people encountering one another. Once the maximum of $0 persons in the church/hall/parking lot on the property is reached, no one else may enter. People who simply show up for Mass at the door must be tumed away in a polite and respectfiul manner. Parishioners should also be advised to contact the parish office, in order to make the necessary arrangements to be included at a future Mass. Parish bulletins are not to be printed and distributed. All paper and other loose printed items, library books, and religious articles should be removed from the foyer. ‘Holy Water and Baptismal fonts remain empty. 4|Page 8, SEATING IN THE PEWS: ‘a. Tomaintain physical distancing, seating may be restricted to every second or third pew (or row of seats). Seats that can be used should be clearly marked. Rows may be conveniently closed off with painter’s tape, which will not damage the pews. In a large church, some sections may be cordoned off to reduce the need for sanitizing everywhere. b. All hymnals, missals, pew cards, and other loose items in the pews must be removed, in order to facilitate cleaning. ¢. Collection baskets must not be passed from person to person in the pews. A locked collection box, or other secure box, perhaps under the supervision of an usher/greeter may be provided for parishioners to deposit their offerings. 9. CLEANING, SANITIZING AND DISINFECTING: a. Cleaning protocols must be defined, implemented and followed and a log of cleaning must be kept demonstrating due diligence in keeping the premises sanitized. b, All high touch surfaces must be sanitized between Masses in the church proper, including pews, kneelers, doors handles, etc. cc. Anadequate stock of hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies, including disposable gloves for cleaners, should be readily available at the time of reopening. Janitorial staff, volunteers or others who are not vulnerable because of age or health conditions must clean and sanitize the pews and other common high touch touched surfaces immediately after every Mass. fe. Dueto the need for strict cleaning and sanitizing, it is recommended that restrooms be closed or open with limited access and available for emergencies. £ Parish cry rooms may be closed or restricted to one family. They may be used only if proper circulation can be assured, and they will need to be carefully cleaned after use. g. __ Kneelers in front of the statues should be removed. All kneelers in front of the Vigil Lights should be removed. The sticks that are used to light the Vigil Lights should be used only once and then discarded. Thank you for your prayers and efforts as we work together to embrace a new Pentecost. In Communion, + Coy oa Most Reverend Gary Gordon: Bishop of Victoria 5|Page Catholic Diocese of Victoria Office of the Bishop T4064 Netthorpe Suet, Vitoria, BO VEX AL ~ Tek 350479 1591 ~ Fax: 250:479-5425 ~ Web redvistora on May 21, 2020 LITURGICAL DIRECTIVES for the Celebration of Mass and the Sacraments during Covid-19 Dear Pastors, Administrators, Deacons, and People of God, As we are called to embrace a new Pentecost and prepare our faith communities to reopen to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy together on May 30, 2020, we do so intentionally to guarantee the health and well-being of those entrusted to our care. Each parish must take responsibility for following the established Diocesan Guidelines, Liturgical Directives, and Provincial Health Authorities mandates, to make the appropriate adaptations for their individual communities based upon size and resources. CELEBRATION OF THE MASS: 1. ALTAR SERVERS: [As we begin to open our churches for public Masses, the priest will celebrate the Mass without the assistance of Altar Servers. 2. ROLE OF THE DEACO! Provided the deacon is healthy and comfortable to exercise his diaconal role at Mass, he would function as a Deacon of the Word (not of the Eucharist), while maintaining social distancing. The deacon would not set up the altar. For Communion, if the deacon receives from the Chalice, second chalice is to be used, and the deacon would purify his own chalice but not the celebrant’s chalice. 3. LECTORS: Only one Lector should be assigned for all the readings to minimize the physical contact with the book (s) as well as breathing upon the sound system, which might then be touched by others. 4. MISSALETTES AND MISSALS: The Church will not provide missalettes for the use of parishioners; however, parishioners are free to bring their own. 5. USI ‘Music should be limited to a cantor and an accompanist, with no choir. Robust congregational singing should be discouraged as it has proven to contribute to the spread of germs. ‘The words to the music should not be printed or displayed on a screen. No printed song sheets or hymnals should be provided at this time. 6. OFFERTORY PROCESSION: Gifts are to be prepared at the Credence Table / Altar ahead of time. Parishioners are not to put their hosts into a ciborium directly. There is to be no procession of the gifts. 7. COMMUNION HOSTS FOR THE ASSEMBL ‘Communion Hosts are to be prepared ahead of time and when placed upon the altar for the consecration should be placed at some distance from the celebrant so there is no danger of him, breathing upon them and should remain covered. The priest is not to share his Host with anyone. 8. REFRAIN FROM BREATHING UPON THE BREAD AND THE WINE: If this is their custom, priests are to refrain from breathing over the bread and wine for the consecration. 9. KISS OF PEACI ‘The rules of social distancing must be respected and parishioners are to be reminded to not shake hands, or hug each other, unless they are sitting together as a family unit. Parishioners may be invited to bow or extend another gesture of peace to one another. 10. COMMUNIO! As there will be a small number of parishioners (below 50), only the priest/presider will distribute ‘Communion, which will be distributed on the hand only. The priest/presider is to use hand sanitizer after receiving his own Communion and prior to the distribution to others. Hand sanitizer is to be utilized at the end of the distribution of communion, and any time the fingers of the priest/presider touch the hand of a communicant. ‘The priest/presider will stand behind a clear Plexiglas screen (provided to all the parishes by the Diocese) which will need to be installed on a table at the front of the aisle for the parishioners to present their hands for communion. Alll parishioners will be invited to come forward at Communion in single file, while maintaining social distancing guides provided on the floor. Those who do not receive communion and desire a blessing are welcome to come forward, as one does for communion. The priest/presider must not touch the individuals and maintain the safe distance rule of 2 meters. 2|Page 11. RECEIVING COMMUNION ifa person cannot extend their hands: A physically challenged o handicapped person might not be able to extend their hands and therefore common sense and pastoral discretion is required. 12. TIMING OF COMMUNIO! ‘The priest/presider has two options for the distribution of communion. The first option would be that Communion would be distributed in the context of Mass as per the norm and parishioners ‘would have an opportunity to make an act of thanksgiving and participate in the act of sending forth at the end of the Liturgy. The departure from the Mass could be handled safely by having people exit row by row. ‘The second option is that parishioners could receive Communion at the end of ‘Mass and then leave the Church, thus providing for an orderly and safe exit. SACRAMENTS: 13. SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM: Priests / Deacons / Administrators may baptize all the while maintaining social distancing and other safety measures. Occasionally, during the ritual, it is necessary to approach the child and the Celebrant should ask the parents if they are comfortable having them approach without a mask or if they wish a mask to be worn for the following: signing of the child; anointing with oil of Catechumens; pouring of water; anointing with Chrism; giving of the candle. The signing and anointing is to be done with a cotton ball. The parents sign the child and only those others that the parents permit to sign the child 14, RECONCILIATION: ‘As per the norms already established, provided social distancing and all the necessary precautions for sanitization are in place. Confessional boxes and Reconciliation rooms are too smalll for social distancing and therefore a larger room or area of the church with clear visibility (in conformity with the norms established for Responsible Ministry and Safe Environment) or outside in an open space. The penitent should stand unless kneelers and/or chairs are properly sanitized after each person. Social distancing markers for those waiting for the sacrament of reconciliation must be clearly indicated. 15. CONFIRMATION ~ of those who desire to enter the church after RCIA: Confirmation may be conferred provided social distancing and all precautions, including sanitizing take place. The Celebrant should ask the candidate if they are comfortable having them approach without a mask or if they wish a mask to be wom. 3|Page