Catholics around Cincinnati will be able to return to in-person mass starting Monday, May 25, according to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s website.
Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr asked all pastors in Cincinnati to resume the public celebration of mass “every day of the week, beginning May 25,” in a “letter to the faithful” on The Catholic Telegraph.
"Over the past eight weeks, the Bishops of Ohio have met on a regular basis to discuss recommendations and requirements put in place by the State of Ohio and the medical profession to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Early in those discussions, we very reluctantly agreed that we had to suspend the public celebration of Mass for the safety of our parishioners and for the common good of our communities," writes Schnurr in his letter.
"On May 8, the Bishops of Ohio issued a statement by which we informed Catholics in the State of Ohio that, while making every effort to respect the spirit of the governor’s Responsible Restart Ohio Plan, we will begin to make the public celebration of Mass available once again...At the same time, I must emphasize that this is not going to be 'a return to normal.' Health and safety requirements and recommendations must continue to be followed. Among these are social distancing, the use of face masks, and concern for the most vulnerable."
Schnurr noted that those vulnerable to COVID-19 are still dispensed from the obligation to attend mass on Sundays, but asked that parishes make Holy Communion safely available to those who opt to stay home. He also encourages those with health concerns to participate in mass online until they are comfortable returning to in-person mass celebrations.
An extensive list of regulations and restrictions has been released by the Archdiocese including, but not limited to:
- Water must be removed from holy water and baptismal fonts,
- Physical contact during the Our Father and the Sign of Peace should be avoided,
- Receiving of Holy Communion from the chalice will not be offered,
- Hymnals and other paper materials should be removed from pews, with disposable materials offered instead.
You can view the full list of guidelines here.
The Archdiocese also suggests parishes invite their congregations to RSVP for mass in advance or reserve pews for families in order to effectively practice social distancing.
A list of local Catholic masses that are currently livestreaming can be found on the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Facebook page and at The Catholic Telegraph.