Since this Sunday, there has been a lot of confusion, concerns, and complaints regarding the “loosening” of the policy requiring masks while attending Mass.
Especially at this time when the COVID pandemic is reaching extreme levels of infection around the country and we are facing once again a very serious threat, we cannot afford to create more confusion, or to be vague about the critical requirements we must follow if we want to continue to worship safely and protect each other.
I have heard each concern and have taken them very seriously. To that effect, I want to clearly reaffirm the policy for wearing masks for everyone who attends Sunday or Daily Masses, and any other ritual or prayer inside the church. This also applies to all lectors, deacon, and priests who must wear a mask at all times during the entire Mass including when reading and preaching.
The following is the official required policy:
“Masks are required, and not an option, for anyone 2 years or older who is attending Mass. Masks must be worn during the entire Mass. If anyone is not able or unwilling to wear a mask, they may remain at home. Everyone is reminded that the Bishop’s special dispensation for attending Sunday Mass is still in place, and there is no obligation, sin, or penalty if you choose to stay home.”
“All ministers of the liturgy must wear a mask during the entire Mass including when they are exercising their ministry. After consulting with infectious disease specialists: Cantors are permitted to pull their masks down at the moment they are leading the people in singing and only if they have the protective large shield in front of them and they are within 12 or more feet away from the assembly.”
I am very appreciative to all those who have call to my attention the concerns in the community. I pray and hope this clarifies any confusion and ease any recent concern. We will remain together as we move towards the end of this journey. We await patiently!