What should we expect when we return to Mass? Here is a list of requirements outlined by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to give you an idea:

  • It will be compulsory to wear a face mask to attend mass.
  • Seats will be limited to allow a 2m distance between people.
  • There will be only single use publications such as missalettes which will be taken with the user when Mass ends – not left in the church. No hymn books or missals or other published material used by the congregation will be left out.
  • Holy Water stoups will be dry.
  • There will be no congregational singing. This will be reviewed at a later stage.
  • Readers will wear single-use gloves and should avoid touching the microphones or the Lectionary during the Liturgy of the Word, apart from page turning.
  • The homily will be brief to minimise the times that people are congregated in the church building.
  • There will be no Prayers of the Faithful.
  • There will be no offertory procession of the gifts of bread and wine to the altar.
  • There will be no sharing of the collection plate or bag. Instead people can make donations online or via standing order. Collection boxes or plates for cash offerings will be placed at the entrances and exits of the church.
  • Members of the congregation will not exchange the sign of peace.
  • After the prayer and its response “Behold the Lamb of God…Lord I am not worthy,” the priest will hold up the Host to the Congregation and say audibly “The Body of Christ” to which the people should respond “Amen.” In the same way, he elevates the chalice and says, “The Blood of Christ” and again the people respond “Amen.” This will enable to congregation to acclaim the presence of the Lord.
  • There are two options for the distribution of Holy Communion:
  • Option 1: Communion will be distributed with a physical barrier such as a kneeler or a small table. It will be given silently in the hand only, with the communicant standing. People will wait in their pews until instructed to move forward and ensuring there is a 2m distance between the person in front and behind them. When they approach the priest, their arms should be stretched out fully to ensure a good distance between themselves and the priest. Their hands, palms up, one on top of the other should be extended as flatly as possible. Having received Holy Communion, the communicant should move back to the pew in an orderly manner.
  • Option 2: The priest receives Holy Communion, cleanses the paten and chalice, then holds a reverent silence. Then he will say the Prayer after Communion, give the blessing and dismissal. At this point the Ministers of Holy Communion will go to their points of distribution and the communicants will be stewarded forward to receive Holy Communion. Communicants will then immediately leave the church.
  • If the priest wishes to greet the people, he will remove his vestments and greet them at a 2m distance. The congregation are encouraged not to linger, but to go straight home.
  • Churches will be closed after Mass to be cleaned according to the guidelines.
  • There is the option of celebrating Mass outdoors around the church if appropriate distances can be achieved and all the liturgical advice can be fulfilled.

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