Restrictions lifted, but caution prevails

(Updated Aug. 6 2021)

On Aug. 6, Bishop Robert W. McElroy sent the following message to the diocese’s priests, after consulting with the diocese’s Pastoral Council:

“We have all experienced the joy and blessings of not having to wear masks over these last few months. However, in the wake of the delta variant, we are asking pastors to recommend that parishioners, once again, wear their masks when inside parish buildings. Those who have been vaccinated are encouraged to wear their masks as an act of charity.

“Additionally, we ask pastors to continue to invite parishioners to be vaccinated.

“Let us continue to offer our prayers for those who have died by COVID-19 and for those who are currently affected by the delta variant.”

The COVID-19 rules currently observed in our diocese are:

  • Masks are recommended at Mass and other indoor diocesan functions for everyone, regardless of vaccination status;
  • All restrictions on capacity and spacing for worship have been lifted;
  • All limitations on meetings and social activities have been lifted;
  • Distribution of the Eucharist on the tongue is now allowed, although it will continue to be available in the hand. The reintroduction of the shared cup will be determined sometime in the future;
  • The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass has ended. Some members will continue be exempt, however;
  • It is recommended that non-family members bringing the Eucharist to the sick be vaccinated.

Children under the age of 14 in formation classes and students in Catholic schools will have to continue to wear masks because is there no vaccine yet available for the bulk of these youngsters.

Use of masks at schools.