My dear People of God,
There is good news from our Archbishop of Los Angeles!
Thankfully, we have made significant progress in our fight against the pandemic in the three counties of the Archdiocese. We now can look forward to better days in which we can actively live our faith as the Body of Christ in our parish communities.
Our Archbishop encouraged that by June 19th and 20th, all Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles should return to in-person Sunday Mass and the celebration of the Sacraments, especially for those who are in good health. Also, effective June 19, 2021, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation in response to the coronavirus pandemic will be lifted for the Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Those who have serious and legitimate reasons (e.g., illness, underlying health conditions that render them susceptible to illness, significant fears of becoming ill, etc.) are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation. For those who are in this category, I encourage them to keep the Lord’s Day holy by reading the Gospels, praying with their families, or joining a live-streamed Mass and by making an Act of Spiritual Communion.
These new guidelines, effective June 15, 2021, replace all previous guidelines established by the Archdiocese.
General Considerations for Liturgical Celebrations and Religious Services
- All liturgical celebrations (e.g., Weekday Masses, Sunday Masses, First Communions, Confirmation, Weddings, Baptisms, Funerals, Quinceañeras) and other religious services (e.g., Private Prayer, Adoration, Devotions, Prayer Services) are allowed to take place indoors without capacity limitations, social distancing, and/or prearranged “reservation” systems.
- Parishes can open for prayer group meetings, ministerial gatherings, and social gatherings provided that sensible public health precautions are observed.
- Mass and all other liturgical celebrations are to be celebrated according to what is described in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and to rubrics appropriate to each Rite, without exceptions or restrictions unless otherwise noted in this document.
- All liturgical ministers—Altar Servers (vested), Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (if needed), Ministers of Hospitality—should exercise their ministries as usual in the celebration of the liturgy.
- Masks are not required for fully vaccinated individuals outdoors or indoors for religious services. Masks are required for unvaccinated individuals outdoors when social distancing is not possible, and at all times indoors. Parishes must provide information and/or post a sign at entrances indicating that parishioners must wear a facemask if they are unvaccinated. Parishes are not to verify who is and who is not vaccinated.
- For now, masks and social distancing are required for employees and volunteers if they are working in the church during Mass. Pastors must ensure that employees and volunteers adhere to the guidelines provided by the CDC, State of California, County Departments of Health (Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara), Cal OSHA and/or City Offices regarding healthy hygiene practices and employee and volunteer training.
- Entry health screenings can be done through self-attestation with posted signs at entrances without the need for an employee or volunteer to be present.
- Parishes may provide an area within the church building for social distancing of at least three feet between family units. • Hand sanitation must be available for all visitors. This could take several forms, ranging from touch-less dispensers of antibacterial gel at the doors or wash stations in restrooms. The use of hand sanitizer is not required for entry into buildings.
- Parishes are not required to sanitize after each liturgy or service but instead should observe sensible public health precautions.
- Liturgical singing can take place.
- Hymnals, missalettes, and worship aids may be placed in the pews or distributed for use by the faithful.
- Collection baskets may be placed in a location where people can provide their donations during the preparation of the gifts or as the faithful enter or exit the church. Parishes may also use collection baskets on poles handled by Ministers of Hospitality during the offertory collection.
- For now, Holy Communion will be offered in the form of bread. Communion on the hand is strongly encouraged. The Ministers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are encouraged to sanitize their hands before distributing Communion and after Communion has concluded.
- The distribution of Holy Communion is only to take place at its proper time at the Communion Rite after the Agnus Dei. Distribution and reception of Communion in the form of a “drive-thru” style is not allowed.
- Liturgical processions may resume at their proper times (i.e., the entrance procession, the Gospel procession, the procession of the offertory gifts, and the recessional procession).
- Water in the baptismal font and holy water fonts should be refreshed frequently.
I share this good news to let you know of all the current rulings concerning how we continue to care for each other’s health and safety as we continue to gather in and around the church mindful that we are still in the midst of a pandemic.
May the Lord keep us safe always and unite us all as one Body of Christ!