Here's What to Expect During Easter Mass at Cincinnati Catholic Churches During a Coronavirus Pandemic

Traditions look a little different as COVID-19 continues to be an issue in Cincinnati and beyond.

Apr 1, 2021 at 11:23 am
Downtown Cincinnati's St. Peter in Chains Cathedral - PHOTO: FACEBOOK.COM/CATHEDRALAOC.ORG
Downtown Cincinnati's St. Peter in Chains Cathedral

Easter Mass at Catholic churches typically is an occasion for fellowship in close proximity with many people. But as the coronavirus pandemic continues, traditions look a little different.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati provides guidelines for safely worshipping in person at area Catholic churches. The guidelines are in place for every Mass and other holy day obligations, but because Easter Mass typically attracts a larger crowd and Ohio’s COVID-19 cases are once again inching upward, it seems like a good time for a reminder about what to expect if you plan to attend in person this weekend.

"We highly recommend that people check their parish website or contact their parish before attending Easter Masses this weekend," Jennifer Schack, media contact for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, tells CityBeat. "We advise checking Mass times and finding out if there are special arrangements like signups or particular entrance/exit patterns. In general, parishes are doing very well implementing safe protocols for worship."

Some general guidelines:

Mask up

According to guidelines from the Archdiocese, which were updated March 12, masks are required at all times indoors. Priests, deacons, readers and cantors may remove their masks while speaking or singing.

Go digital

Hymnals are once again in the pews, but some churches may have digital worship aids, bulletins or other online items to cut down on surface touches. The Archdiocese also posts Mass to its YouTube channel for celebrating from afar.

Spread out

Many churches are using choir lofts and other auxiliary spaces to maximize a safer capacity. Some may even request RSVPing to Mass via EventBrite or other online platforms.

Keep your distance

Attendees who are not within the same household should refrain from physical contact during the Sign of Peace and other close traditions. Likewise, Holy Communion will be given by intinction or by hand instead of from a shared chalice.

Don’t pass the plate

To minimize contact, Catholics aren’t passing collection plates among attendees. Instead, many are designating a single collection point, guidance from the Archdiocese says.

Limit socializing

If there’s not adequate space for safe physical distancing, churches may forego post-Mass coffee, donuts and socializing.

The Archdiocese had similar precautions in place for Ash Wednesday. Read the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s full guidelines.

Houses of worship outside of the Catholic faith also may take similar precautions this weekend. Check with local faith leaders for specifics.

Other Catholic traditions have been restarting recently in Cincinnati. This week, Holy Cross-Immaculata Church in Mt. Adams announced the return of the Praying of the Steps. The pilgrimage begins at 12:01 a.m. on Good Friday, April 2, with Catholics reciting a "Hail Mary," praying the rosary, saying "Lord Jesus, thank you for your most holy sacrifice" or reflecting on their own while making their way up around 100 steps from St. Gregory Street to the church.