BR Diocese reopening churches for mass, making changes to meet state guidelines
BATON ROUGE - The Diocese of Baton Rouge announced Monday that it will begin allowing churches to reopen this weekend with changes in place to help gatherings meet state requirements.
Bishop Michael Duca says churches throughout the diocese will be allowed to open starting with Vigil Masses Saturday afternoon. Masses will be required to meet several conditions regarding occupancy and sanitization.
Pastors will be asked to adjust seating and make changes to mass schedules as needed in order to ensure that social distancing guidelines are followed, that includes potentially requiring reservations in order to attend some churches.
Additionally, pastors will be allowed to reopen parish offices as long as no more than 25 percent of the parochial building is occupied, and all visitors who enter must wear face masks at all times.
The following will apply to all masses across the Baton Rouge Diocese starting this weekend.
-Churches will only be allowed to house 25 percent of their occupancy at a time
-Parishioners are required to wear masks in the worship space
-A bow or gesture should replace a handshake or other signs of peace during the liturgy
-After mass, social distancing are to be observed by clergy and parishioners alike
-Priests, deacons and other ministers of Holy Communion will wear masks for the distribution of Holy Communion, and receiving the Precious Host on the hand is encouraged
-Reconciliation can resume as long as masks are worn and proper distancing can be maintained for all while waiting in line and in the confessional
-Previous directives will remain in place for Funerals, Marriages, Baptisms, Anointing of the Sick, and Eucharist to the Homebound
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