The 10 Commandments for Mass in an Almost Post-Covid World 

 With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, we are thankful to be gradually emerging from the Covid pandemic that struck us twenty months ago. We are especially grateful to healthcare workers and all first responders for the self-sacrificing service they have given to attend to the sick and keep us all safe. 

Although the pandemic is lessening, we do still need to take some precautions to insure public safety. So while we can, to a large extent, return to the celebration of Mass as we knew it before, some conditions still need to be observed. Thus, after having discussed the question at the last meeting of the Presbyteral Council, I have issued an updated list of safety protocols that must be observed in the celebration of Masses throughout the Archdiocese, which is attached to this memorandum. Please read these carefully and observe them. 

In addition to these protocols, I call your attention to the following: 

With the greater numbers of people attending Mass on Christmas Eve, some parishes may wish to have multiple Masses (even beyond the usual for that time) in order to prevent the crowding of the church, while others may want to celebrate Mass outdoors and may be concerned about concluding Mass after nightfall. For these reasons, this year once again I grant a dispensation for parishes to begin celebrating the Christmas Vigil Mass at 3:00pm on December 24. 

The sacrament of Reconciliation may resume with the hearing of confessions in the confessional, provided that the penitents are wearing masks during their confession. Attention should be given to sanitizing the screen on the penitent’s side of the confessional to the extent possible. 

Thank you for the pastoral care you have given to your people during these trying months. May the upcoming season of Advent be a time of grace and renewal for all of us. 

The 10 Commandments for Mass in an Almost Post-Covid World 

The celebration of Mass may now return to all of the usual procedures prior to the Covid pandemic, with the following exceptions. As always, people should be regularly reminded to stay at home if they are feeling ill. In such a case, the law itself dispenses from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. 

1. Doors and windows are to be kept open for good ventilation. 

This is the single most effective practice to insure a healthy environment indoors. 

2. People in pews are to wear masks (unless they have a physical or personal difficulty with it). 

3. *Liturgical ministers are to wear masks, except when performing their liturgical duty. 

4. Cantors are to wear a mask only if they cannot be more than 12 feet away from the closest person. 

5. Choir members do not need to wear masks so long as they can remain at least 12 feet away from the closest person in the assembly or sanctuary, and at least 6 feet apart from each other. 

6. If a liturgical minister needs to read or sing from a book or binder for more than 10 consecutive minutes, then it should be placed on a lectern rather than held by a book-bearer. 

7. In concelebrated Masses: 

Concelebrating priests do not wear masks, unless they cannot keep 3 feet or more apart from each other; 

Sufficient extra chalice(s) should be set out for any concelebrating priest(s); if more than one concelebrant is to communicate from the same chalice, then they are to communicate themselves by intinction. 

8. The sign of peace is to be exchanged by people reverently bowing to those near them. 

9. Communion ministers are to don masks and sanitize their hands before distributing Holy Communion. The priest celebrant may instead sanitize his hands at the purification of his hands during the rite of preparation of the offerings. 

10. Holy Communion is to be distributed under the species of bread only. 

*This requirement does not apply to those ministers who take a Covid antigen test that has resulted negative immediately prior to the starting time of the Mass.