Guidelines for Parishes upon Resumption of Public Services
Reverend Clergy, dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ!
Christ is Risen!
I wish to inform you that as part of the process implemented during COVID-19, allowing for gradual return to work as some restrictions lift, I am anxious to safely restart public celebration of the Divine Services in our parishes throughout the 11 states of St. Josaphat Eparchy.
In consultation with our clergy, I am granting permission, as of May 21, 2020, solemn feast of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the public celebration of the Divine Services, where it is permissible, with safety guidelines outlined below:
- The church should be cleaned/sanitized before each service when the public may be present, especially areas that are commonly touched (railings, doors, backs of pews, etc.). Please keep the churches well ventilated by opening windows or by turning on air-conditioner.
- Social distancing of 6 feet must be maintained, people are encouraged to wear face masks and gloves:
- While seating or standing in the pews – between non-family member
- While standing in line for Communion and returning to the pew
- Veneration of icons, etc. should done without touching or kissing them.
- There should be no social gatherings after the services.
- Parishioners should be reminded that if they are not feeling well that they should stay at home and reminded that they are not bound by the Sunday obligation if they are ill.
- Parishioners should also be instructed that if they wish to receive Communion they ought to open their mouths wide, do not touch the spoon and do not cough or sneeze upon it. Care should be taken in ensuring the proper sanitization of the spoon. The spoon will be sanitized when needed by wiping it with a cloth soaked in pure alcohol.
- Collection baskets are to be left in designated places so that parishioners may leave their offerings without passing around baskets.
- Sacrament of Penance must be administered in safe space with keeping social distance.
- Celebration of baptisms, weddings and funerals are allowed if all precautions listed above are observed.
Please consider other precautionary measures! As always, use common sense and pastoral prudence to prevent the spread of the virus. For example, if there is not enough space for people to safely attend the Liturgy consider celebrating additional Liturgies that day.
Together, we continue to pray for all who are suffering from Covid-19, for all health care workers and first responders, for all the deceased and their families, and for easing of anxiety and tension caused by this pandemic.
Most Rev. Bohdan J. Danylo