|Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie Diocesan Administrator’s Office||Diocèse de Sault Ste-Marie Bureau de l’administrateur diocésain|
December 3rd, 2020
Dear brother priest,
Please find in attachment the revised Worshipsafe Guidelines. I take this opportunity to bring to your attention the following points.
1) The obligation of wearing a mask in the churches of our Diocese is maintained. Our Diocesan Protocols does not allow for any exceptions. Consequently, those who cannot wear a mask are asked to refrain from attending mass. It is important to remind our faithful that the dispensation of their Sunday Obligation remains in place during this exceptional time.
2) You have an obligation to a wear a mask at all times in the Church with the exception of when you are in the sanctuary and at least two meters from others. If you have any covid-19 symptoms, you must not celebrate public Mass. If you feel that you are unable to celebrate public mass because of health issues, please contact me.
3) Entrance to the sacristy is to be limited to those who are required to prepare for the liturgy. Social distancing must be maintained while in the sacristy. If the room is small and does not allow for the required distancing, one person at a time should use the room. All surfaces in the room are to be kept clean.
4) It is mandatory that each parish maintain a list of all attending parishioners including their contact information. Such lists shall be placed with parish financial records and maintained for a period of not less than six months.
5) Until Health Authorities declare an end to the pandemic, the correct use of masks (worn properly and covering the nose and mouth) are mandatory for both those distributing and those receiving Holy Communion. Masks properly worn must be in place at all times save for the act of consuming the Host, but only after moving a recommended two meters (six feet) from the Eucharistic Minister dispensing the Host.
6) There is a modification of cleaning requirements within churches. Church cleaning requirements should provide for the disinfection of only frequently touched surfaces and objects. If a pew or chair will not be used within an hour of the last occupancy, there should be no need to disinfect that pew or chair, though periodic regular cleaning should still continue, i.e. once a week. Where the pew is scheduled to be used within an hour of last occupancy, disinfection should consist of running a disinfectant-laden cloth along the tops and sides of each pew or chair. This approach is likely to be sufficient to combat pathogens.
7) You are to ascertain that all persons helping with the Covid-19 protocols are familiar with these guidelines. Care must be taken to not fall into a legalistic, uncompromising and non-Christian setting.
8) If you notice that the Diocesan Protocols or the Worshipsafe Guidelines are not being respected by some members of the faithful and their resolute decision not to comply after two warnings, you can cancel mass or refuse them entry into the church. The incident is to be reported to the Diocese.
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