By Tim Lilley
The Message editor
This issue of The Message is arriving in mailboxes and email boxes less than a week into the resumption of weekday public Masses across the Diocese of Evansville. Weekend Masses begin again this weekend (May 23-24).
Following are some things to remember as we move forward with the resumption of the sacraments, sacramentals and devotions across our 12 counties. The following guidelines are in effect until further notice.
Please Note: Celebrations for the RCIA and Confirmations are still on hold as questions regarding the safe celebration of these sacraments are addressed. The Message will publish updates when they are available.
- Individuals 65 and over, as well as those of any age in high risk categories, should remain home for the sake their health and wellbeing.
- All Masses must follow the Diocesan Guidelines for the Resumption of Masses.
- Protocols regarding social distancing and sanitizing churches must be observed.
Baptism of Children (may begin any time):
- All baptisms of children should be celebrated outside Mass for the time being.
- Participation limited according to current social distancing guidelines.
First Communions (may begin any time):
- The celebration of first Holy Communions may resume as soon as the parish is prepared to do so.
Reconciliation (may begin any time):
- Reconciliation will temporarily move out of the confessional and instead be celebrated in a larger room.
Weddings (may begin any time):
- Matrimony may be celebrated within Mass or without Mass.
- Funeral Masses, celebrated at the church, may begin any time.
- Funeral liturgy outside Mass may be celebrated at the church or at the funeral home.
Adoration Chapels/Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (may begin any time):
- Exposition should be moved from smaller chapels into the main body of the church to allow for recommended social distancing and less chance for contact upon entering and exiting.
Devotions (may begin any time):
- Communal recitation of the rosary, novenas, Stations of the Cross and other devotions may be offered as long a social distancing and sanitizing guidelines are observed.
Holy Communion Outside of Mass:
- As diocesan staff and pastors continue to work through how to best care for the people’s spiritual needs while also being attentive to their physical well-being, it is prudent for the time being to limit the distribution of Holy Communion only to Mass and as viaticum.
- Those who are unable to come to Mass to should continue to make an act of spiritual communion.
Communion Service Exception:
- If a priest is over the age of 65 or in the high risk categories, and does not feel it would be prudent for him to celebrate Mass with a congregation, a Communion service celebrated in a parish church by a deacon or other minister could be held.
Pastoral Care of the Sick/Homebound:
- While it is still necessary to limit or temporarily suspend routine visits to the homebound or nursing homes, every effort will be made to provide the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick as well as viaticum for those who are in need.
- The date for the Chrism Mass has not yet been determined. The Message will publish information on the Mass when it is available