On Monday, May 10, Bishop Caggiano announced that the obligation of Catholics to attend Sunday Mass every week would be reestablished after a prolonged period of suspension during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting the weekend of Pentecost (May 22-23, 2021), attendance at Sunday Mass (or Saturday Vigil Mass) is once again obligatory for every Catholic.
As guidance to the faithful, the Catholic Bishops of Connecticut explained that there are certain circumstances which legitimately excuse attendance, including:
- suffering from serious pre-existing conditions that may make a person more susceptible to falling ill from COVID-19
- being ill and homebound or being a caregiver in close contact with someone who is ill
- having tested positive for any contagious disease, including COVID-19
- being in quarantine due to exposure to any contagion or residing with someone who is quarantined.
The Bishops also stated the following regarding vaccination: “Considering the fact that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective and that the Church has determined that moral questions regarding their development do not preclude their use, we encourage people very strongly to receive the vaccine for their own safety, for the safety of their family and their communities, and the common good, because the larger proportion of people who get vaccinated, the more quickly will the pandemic subside.”
What can we expect now when we come to Mass?
Masks – until further notice, the wearing of masks is no longer required during liturgies for those who have been vaccinated. Non-vaccinated persons must continue to wear masks during liturgies. If you are vaccinated and prefer to continue wearing a mask at Mass you are, of course, free to do so. Please know that the parish will not be checking vaccination cards. People will be on the honor system.
Social Distancing – as of 5/19/21, social distancing is no longer required in the church. All pews are available for seating. The ropes that had served to restrict seating to every other pew have been removed.
Congregational Singing – during the pandemic, congregational singing was prohibited as a way of reducing the risk of spreading infection. The period of the suspension of congregational singing is over as of 5/19/21. For this reason, we will place hymnals back into the pews for use by the congregation.
Communion Line – since there is no longer a social distancing requirement, we will resume our prior practice of having two lines for the reception of Eucharist. Those who wear masks in the Communion line must remove or lower them before receiving the Host from the minister of the sacrament. Priests will continue to make use of the bowl of sanitizer (alcohol) while distributing the Eucharist to the faithful.
The Diocese of Bridgeport requires no additional restrictions for gatherings than those mandated by state authorities.