Public liturgies in the church might resume in two weeks if the Bay Area continues to successfully manage the coronavirus pandemic, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said.
In a May 12 letter to the archdiocese Archbishop Cordileone wrote, “The next two weeks will be the critical test: San Francisco has ‘flattened the curve,’ and if this trend continues, it will be safer to loosen some of the current restrictions on day-to-day activities.”
The archbishop said California’s bishops have held weekly meetings to discuss how to reopen in line with public health protocols. A committee of priests and laity has been established to draw up safety requirements for when public Mass resumes….
During a Zoom webinar hosted by the Benedict XVI Institute on May 13 on church and state issues in light of the pandemic response, Archbishop Cordileone offered further considerations about reopening….
Guidelines for reopening churches published by a task force at the Thomistic Institute in Washington, D.C., have been a touchstone for the California bishops conference, he said. The archbishop called them “detailed and thorough,” and the bishops conference had sent a copy of the document to Gov. Gavin Newsom as an example of how churches can reopen while keeping congregants safe.
The archbishop said government leaders do not understand the steps churches can take to protect congregants. “When they think of a worship service they think of something like a megachurch, 1,000-2,000 people jammed in a crowded area,” he said. “They don’t think that we can have distance in our churches, or that we can have outdoor services.”
Across the country, dioceses have been targeting the last two weeks of May as the time to resume public Masses and issuing guidelines on how they will do so safely. In Oklahoma, public Masses resumed May 18 with churches limited to a third of their normal capacity. The weekend of May 24 will see the first public Sunday Masses in two months.
Among the guidelines for reopening drawn up by the state’s bishops are roping off pews to maintain physical distance, encouraging mask wearing, removing missals or worship aids, omitting the sign of peace and having hand sanitizer distributed throughout the church.
“Patience and a spirit of charity toward ourselves and our neighbors, particularly the vulnerable, will greatly assist in a well-ordered transition back to public Mass,” Oklahoma’s two dioceses said in an announcement.
The Archdioceses of Baltimore, Louisville and St. Louis and the Diocese of Richmond will also return to celebrating Mass publicly the last two weeks of May. Other dioceses, including Portland, Ore., Denver, St. Petersburg and Austin reopened their churches’ doors to Massgoers at the beginning of May….
The above comes from a May 18 story in Catholic San Francisco.