As Riverside and San Bernardino counties continue their reopening, parishes are beginning to confirm young Catholics across the Diocese while still adhering to safety measures. 

Bishop Alberto Rojas revised the safety directives for Masses in an April 14 letter so that parishes can increase seating capacity to 50 percent and reduce social distancing from six feet to three feet. In addition to adhering to the safety guidelines for Mass, parishes will also follow a set of directives for Confirmations. 

Candidates will be seated as they arrive instead of processing into their seats like they normally would. Sponsors and candidates will remain socially distanced, unless they are from the same household. 

The traditional photo with the Bishop will be skipped, and instead of directly anointing the candidate’s forehead with the Sacred Chrism, the Bishop, or his designee, will dip a clean cotton ball into the oil and then anoint the candidate. (Directives mentioned in this article are current as of press time, although they are subject to modification depending on the state of the pandemic.)

To make sure that there is no more than 50 percent capacity at the ceremony, some parishes, such as St. Bernardine in San Bernardino, are limiting guests to parents and sponsors only. 

St. Bernardine catechist Matthew Toilolo shared sentiments on virtual religious education classes. “[Online learning] is challenging as a catechist … You’re not sure if you’re getting your message across,” said Toilolo. He said that many of the students prefer to keep their video cameras off during class, which makes it hard for him to tell if they are engaged in the class and understanding the material.

“They’re more reserved online … it’s hard to read them, and it’s hard to get them to participate sometimes,” said Toilolo, who has been a catechist at the parish for over 15 years. “It’s a challenging time for them, too … hopefully we keep praying, and we’ll get through this.”

Full story at Inland Catholic Byte.