Parishes set to fully reopen June 19 in Archdiocese of Los Angeles

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Father Rafael Saiz celebrates Christmas Mass outdoors at St. Mary's Catholic Church beneath a tent with social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic on December 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Father Rafael Saiz celebrates Christmas Mass outdoors at St. Mary’s Catholic Church beneath a tent with social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic on December 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As California awaits a wide reopening on Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said parishes will also fully reopen next weekend with fewer COVID-19 rules in place.

Archbishop José H. Gomez announced the full reopening plans effective June 19 in a letter published Saturday. Masks will not be required inside or outside churches for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and social distancing and capacity limitations will no longer be in effect.

Masks will still be required for parish employees and volunteers, and for those who are not vaccinated, Gomez said.

“Thankfully, we continue to make significant progress in our fight against the pandemic in the three counties of the Archdiocese. We can look forward to better days in which we can actively live our faith as the Body of Christ in our parish communities,” Gomez said in a statement.

“And so, on June 19 and 20, I encourage the Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to return to in-person Sunday Mass and the celebration of the Sacraments, especially for those who are in good health.”

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles released the following detailed guidelines for religious services and liturgical celebrations beginning June 19:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Liturgical singing can take place.
  •  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. 
  • Water in the baptismal font and holy water fonts should be refreshed frequently. 
  • Parishes are to have scheduled Confession times and Priests may hear individual confession upon request.
  • Immersion fonts will not be used to confer Baptism.
  • The water used for the Rite of Baptism is not to be reused.
  • Blessed water is to be disposed appropriately after the Baptism is finished.
  • The minister, being sensible with handwashing and public health precautions, may administer the Holy Oils appropriate to each Rite in the usual manner.

For more information on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, visit lacatholics.org.

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