Together, the Bishops of Ohio have decided that the general obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (including the Saturday/Vigil Mass) is to be reinstated (CIC, can. 1247). This will take effect in each of the Dioceses of Ohio the weekend of June 5-6, 2021. As has always been the case, those who have a serious reason are exempt from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2181). This includes those who are ill, have significant health risk factors or care for someone who is immuno-compromised or ill, as well as those who have significant fear or anxiety of contracting the Coronavirus in a large group of persons.
The expectation is that people return to Mass next weekend. There are changes to welcome more people now that the case numbers are low and restrictions are lifted. We are applying guidelines set for us by the diocese.
1. Face Masks – Face masks are no longer required, but are strongly suggested for those who have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine or are otherwise vulnerable. To respect those who still desire to wear a face mask there will be two sections of pews on Mary’s side that are reserved for those who want to maintain social distancing and wear a face mask.
2. Social Distancing – Social distancing is no longer required. The ropes will be removed except for the two sections mentioned above.
3. Holy Water – Holy Water fonts will be replaced and the basins will be cleaned weekly as usual.
4. Offertory Collection – We will continue to use the collection kiosks in the gathering area. This has proven to be a safe and effective way to receive your contributions.
5. The Sign of Peace – The sign of peace among the faithful is permitted. It should be exchanged without physical contact between persons who are not of the same household or family.
6. Lectors – We will return to using the ambo for the readings as well as the Gospel.
7. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion – We will continue to wear face masks only while distributing communion and continue to use hand sanitizer before distributing communion.
8. Servers – Servers are permitted but we are not bringing them back just yet.
9. Presentation of the Gifts – This is permitted, but we are not bringing it back right now.
10. Holy Communion – The distribution of the Precious Blood remains suspended until further notice. It is highly recommended that one receive Holy Communion in the hand, but the right to receive on the tongue remains in place. Hand sanitizer will still be available for your use.
11. Singing – Please participate fully in the Mass. Your singing is encouraged.
12. Hymnals – Hymnals will be returned to the pews.
13. Cleaning of Church – We will no longer sanitize the pews between each Mass. We will return to our regular maintenance cleaning schedule with a focus on frequently used surfaces such as door handles.
Everything above is about welcoming those coming to church. For those who are homebound, we will continue to reach out to you. The Live Stream will continue so we can share our worship with those at home. We are working to return to our homebound visitation as well.
The goal is for a return to regular worship at Mass while retaining some reasonable protections in order to welcome and care for those who are concerned about the Coronavirus.
Together we continue to pray for a complete end to the pandemic, for all those who died from the pandemic and for those who have lost loved ones, employment or have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.