November 12, 2020

Guidance (and some reminders) for this time in the pandemic for liturgical celebrations

  • People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. These symptoms may feel like a cold, allergies or the flu, but they may in fact be the result of COVID-19.  People with the following symptoms may have COVID-19:
    • Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
      • This list does not include all possible symptoms. The CDC will continue to update this list. Please check with a medical professional right away should you experience symptoms.
  • Those who are 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions are strongly encouraged to remain at home. This is the population that is most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Of course, those who are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19 are not to enter a church until released to do so by their health care professional.
  • The dispensation from the obligation to participate at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is extended in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and throughout the whole State of Indiana until further notice.
  • Civil authorities are beginning to introduce new restrictions on gatherings.  Generally, the guidelines for churches in the archdiocese remains the same:  the capacity should be determined locally by how many individuals and household groups may safely gather while maintaining at least 6 feet of social distance while wearing masks.
  • Everyone is to wear a mask, to maintain at least 6 feet of social distance between individuals and/or household groups, and to wash and sanitize hands frequently.
  • Signups or registration of those in attendance is always encouraged in case contact tracing needs to be performed.
  • All priests and other ministers of Holy Communion must wear a mask while distributing Holy Communion.
  • Frequently touched surfaces and shared objects are to be cleaned and disinfected between uses.
  • Virtual opportunities for prayer and worship are to be offered and encouraged where possible.  Outreach for the safe reception of Anointing of the Sick, Confession and Holy Communion for those who need to remain at home is strongly encouraged
  • Events and activities beyond the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments are to be curtailed or postponed.
  • It may also be prudent to decrease or even temporarily suspend congregational singing at Masses. Using just a cantor and an instrumentalist or a socially distant quartet may be an alternative.  At this time, choirs are not permitted in the archdiocese until further notice.

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