Lifting of Covid19 Restrictions on Monday May 31, 2021
My Dear Parishioners,
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia released the following on Wednesday, May 19, 2021:
Since March 2020 there has been a steady stream of directives from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the fitting celebration of the Sacred Liturgy as adapted according to the required mitigating standards for COVID-19 mandated by the state and local governments. Throughout these many months there has been, for the most part, generous cooperation on the part of the clergy and lay faithful to give proper worship to Almighty God and to safeguard the health of one another. With the pending lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia, it will soon be possible to celebrate the Eucharist and all the Sacraments with very few exceptions in the manner prior to the pandemic. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as of Monday, May 31, 2021, lifts all building sanitation, distancing and capacity restrictions. All parishes and institutions in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties are free to lift all building sanitation, distancing and capacity restrictions on Monday, May 31, 2021.
THE USE OF FACE COVERINGS AND MASKS
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidance on the use of face coverings and masks as of Thursday, May 13, 2021. According to this guidance, people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus no longer need to wear masks or follow social-distancing restrictions in most indoor and outdoor settings, except as required by state and local laws or other regulations.
Therefore, parishes and institutions in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties can freely comply with the relaxed measures with regard to face coverings/masks for the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. As stated in previous liturgical directives, there is no requirement for those in the sanctuary to wear a face covering or mask.
It is important to note that while the regular obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation remains lifted, you are encouraged to attend Mass and participate in the sacraments in person. While masks are not required, please feel free to continue wearing one if you wish. Liturgical ministries and singing can proceed without any restrictions, as before the pandemic. Permission is given for the offertory procession to resume. The sign of peace continues to be suspended. Holy Communion is free to be received in the hand or on the tongue and the Minister of Communion need not sanitize during reception.
Confessions can return to the confessionals without any restrictions.
This week we also celebrate Memorial Day. The website www.usmemorialday.org says that it is a day of remembrance for those who died serving our country. Originally called Decoration Day, it was first established as a way to honor those who died in the Civil War. The date May 30, 1868 was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. After World War I, the holiday was designated as a day to honor Americans who died in any war. Later the date was changed to the last Monday in May. I know that traditionally this is the “unofficial start” of the summer season, but let’s not forget the reason for the holiday. We are grateful for the service and sacrifice of all those who died serving our great country. Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine on them. May the Souls of all the Faithful Departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace. Amen.
God Bless You!