The Diocese continues to offer us direction for preparing to reopen Churches. Last week they published a guide for use in parishes to be prepared when the time comes. Two weeks ago the Diocese published a lengthier document to assist parishes with what they need to know when the time comes to open the church doors and allow people in. These documents can be found on the Diocesan Website www.buffalodiocese.org.
The latest guide is what is called “Forward in Faith” Parish Playbook. It contains many useful suggestions for parishes to use. This will allow all parishes to follow the same protocols. Parishes will not have to come up with ideas on their own. The guide begins with very basic suggestions about planning and inviting people to return. It offers practical things that parishioners and ministers will need to know when they return to church.
St. Louis has formed a committee to prepare us for when we return to Mass. The committee will see to it that we have all the necessary procedures in place and that we follow them. They will make sure that there are enough people to help carry out the guidelines that will be followed.
If you are planning ahead, here are some things to keep in mind. Anyone who wishes to attend Mass should be healthy. The dispensation to attend Mass will remain in place for all parishioners who are uncomfortable attending Mass during this time. You will need to wear a mask even when receiving Communion. Communion will only be distributed in the hand. Gloves are optional and are not allowed when receiving Communion. There will be markings on the church floor in order to maintain a 6 foot distance between each person. Not all pews will be available. Some pews will be closed off in order to maintain a safe physical distance from non-household members.
Please check our website for more details on when we will reopen and what we will all need to do. May God continue to watch over you and help you all to stay healthy. In gratitude we pray for all health care workers and we pray for all who are suffering in any way from the Corona Pandemic.