Covid 19 Updates as of September 2020

Covid-19 Protocols of the Archdiocese of Boston

I. Wearing Masks

1.) All people entering the church who are older than five years old must be wearing a mask, and must continue wearing the mask until they leave, unless they have a specific speaking/singing role at the Mass.

  • Children under the age of two should not wear a mask.
  • Children from ages two to five should wear a mask only at the discretion of their parents.
  • If a person has a medical condition that makes it impossible for them to wear a mask, they can be exempted, and they do not need to present any documentation of that condition.
  • If a person refuses to wear a mask and it clearly is not a case as outlined above, the pastor can refuse them entry to the church.
II. Social Distancing

2.) When inside the church, all people who are not a part of the same household must maintain a distance of six feet from one another.

  • Churches need to be clearly marked as to where people can sit, and volunteers need to be trained to help people to sit in the right places.
  • That six-foot distance should be maintained as people approach to receive Holy Communion.
III. Maintaining a Database of Attendees

3.) A system must be in place to track the number of people who have come to a Mass, so that the church does not fill beyond safe capacity. A parish may choose to keep a list of people who have attended Mass.

IV. Taking Temperatures of people entering church

4.) Temperatures of all volunteers must be taken before they volunteer at Mass. Temperatures for all people entering church are taken if you are in a Massachusetts Hot Zone for the virus.

V. Participants at Mass

5.) A limited number of lay people can be trained to provide liturgical ministry safely. This includes readers, cantors, instrumentalists, and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist:

  • When the minister is exercising his or her ministry (the cantor singing, the reader reading) they can remove their mask, but no one should be closer than six feet to them during that time. When they have finished their speaking or singing role, they should put their masks back on.
  • Because it would be difficult for altar servers to exercise their ministry while maintaining a distance of six feet, altar servers are not allowed at this time.
VI. Congregational Singing

6.) Congregational singing is not allowed.

VII. Distribution of Holy Communion

7.) Holy Communion must be distributed in a way that is safe:

  • The priest and/or extraordinary minister must disinfect his or her hands before distributing Communion.
  • The priest and/or extraordinary minister must wear a mask while distributing Communion.
  • The communicant must wear a mask while receiving Communion. After the minister has moved on to the next person, or after the communicant has stepped aside, they should remove their mask, consume the Host, and put their mask back on before returning to their seats.
  • The norm must be that communion is given in the hands.
    • In the case of a person insisting on receiving on the tongue, if the priest feels comfortable doing so, he can disinfect his hands, give the communicant Holy Communion on the tongue, disinfect his hands again, and continue distributing Communion.
      • This is an exception, and must not be the norm in a parish.
      • Some priests, because of their own health vulnerabilities, may decide that they are not comfortable giving a person Holy Communion on the tongue even as an exception, and their concerns must be respected.
    • Some parishes have developed very different ways of distributing Holy Communion. As long as those methods are safe, reverent, and approved by the regional Bishop or episcopal vicar, they may proceed.
VIII. Cleaning and Disinfecting the Church Building

8.) All seating must be disinfected after each Mass.

IX. When someone who has attended Mass gets Covid

9.) If it is found that one of the people who attended Mass had CoVid at the time they attended:

  • An announcement of that fact should be placed on the parish web site (but not the sick person’s name):
  • If a list has been kept, people on the list should be informed.
  • The local Board of Health must be notified.
  • The Archdiocese of Boston must be notified, either through the regional Bishop or episcopal vicar, or through [email protected]rg
X. For what Masses does this policy apply?

10.) These protocols apply to all Masses – weekend, daily, Funeral, Nuptial.