New “Welcome Back” Video Offers Guidelines on What to Expect
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R, Archbishop of Newark, announced this week that Phase Two of the Directives for Re-Opening Churches has been approved as part of the ongoing, three-phase reopening process for parishes throughout the Archdiocese.
Beginning on Monday, June 15, 2020, Archdiocesan parishes, which already have been reopened for private prayer, will now be reopened for the celebration of public weekday Masses, as well as Funerals, Baptisms, and Weddings.
As part of Phase Two, the following protocols will be observed:
· It is the responsibility and decision of each pastor to determine the process and timing for safe reopening weekday public Mass for their local parish. Parishioners are encouraged to contact their local parishes or visit their local parish website for more information.
· Based on state public official guidelines, the maximum number of participants for public Masses, Funerals, Baptisms, and Weddings is now set at 25% of the church’s capacity or 50 participants in total, whichever is less.
· All directives from Phase One remain in force including social distancing, wearing of facemasks, and sanitizing.
· Due to social distancing protocols, services should take place in church, not small chapels.
· 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.
“As we slowly resume public Mass, it is important that we work together to allow for a safe and dignified parish environment for all,” said Cardinal Tobin. “Out of love and respect for human life and health, let us act responsibly and adhere to the guidelines provided by the Archdiocese and our local parishes.”
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.
“If you are ill or at higher risk for illness, or if attending public Mass in the current climate brings you anxiety, please be at peace and remain at home,” Cardinal Tobin said.
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 wellbeing of its clergy and staff, the faithful, and the public.
Phase Three of the Directives for Re-Opening Churches is expected to commence on Sunday, June 21, 2020, and is contingent upon any further developments or guidance from health and state public officials. Phase Three continues the dispensation from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass and extends the celebration of public Mass to Sundays with the observance of all directives and protocols on social distancing, wearing of facemasks and sanitizing. This includes no more than 50% of the total seating capacity of the church permitted for a liturgy. Additional information will be announced.
For the latest Archdiocesan news or announcements, please continue to visit the Archdiocese of Newark’s COVID-19 resource page, at http://www.rcan.org/covid19.