Maximum number of participants for public Masses remains at 25% of the church’s capacity
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R, Archbishop of Newark, announced this week that Phase Three directives have been approved as part of the ongoing, three-phase reopening process for parishes throughout the Archdiocese.
Beginning on June 21, 2020, Archdiocesan parishes, which have already been reopened for weekday Masses, funerals, baptisms and weddings, will now be reopened for the celebration of public Sunday Masses. This includes Vigil Masses starting on Saturday, June 20.
Phase Three of the Directives for Re-Opening Churches is contingent upon any further developments or guidance from health and state public officials. As part of Phase Three, the following protocols will be observed:
- Based on state public official guidelines, the maximum number of participants for public Masses, Funerals, Baptisms, and Weddings remains at 25% of the church’s capacity or 50 participants in total, whichever number is lower.
- All the directives on social distancing, wearing of masks, and sanitizing from Phase One and Phase Two remain in force.
- Cardinal Tobin continues to dispense the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.
- Parishes will continue to livestream Mass so that those unable to attend may maintain a spiritual connection with their local parish.
Although directives for reopening have been provided to all parishes, it continues to remain the responsibility and decision of each pastor to determine the process and timing for safe reopening of their individual parish.
The Archdiocese will continue to monitor the expert guidance of public health officials and federal and state public officials, who have cautioned not to rush into reopening churches to the faithful before manageable safety protocols can be put in place. The Archdiocese remains committed to the health and well-being of its clergy and staff, the faithful, and the public.
More information about protocols and expectations of parishes and Mass participants is available online by clicking here.
The Archdiocese has produced a “Welcome Back” video, available in English and Spanish, to inform parishioners about what to expect as they prepare to return to Mass, available online in English here, and in Spanish here.