By Melissa Butz
Masses can soon be celebrated with the presence of the faithful.
Masses in Italy have been suspended since March 8, with bishops protesting the fact that they didn’t resume with phase two of the country’s lockdown lift on May 4.
However, a compromise has been found – the first public Mass will be held Monday, May 18.
After a tug-of-war between the Church and State, Italian bishops signed an agreement with their government to specify how to safely celebrate Mass again.
“The defined protocol lays out some sanitary measures, so we can return to celebrate, while respecting everyone’s health,” explained Stefano Russo, Secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
The new protocols refer to the parish, the priest and the faithful.
Churches must limit the number of participants, to ensure a circumference distance of three-feet at all times.
Parishes that can, should have designated entrances and exits.
Hand sanitizer must be at the door, there is to be no holy water, liturgical items or microphone.
The priest can celebrate baptisms, weddings and funerals; but not confirmation. He must give communion with a mask and gloves.
There won’t be a collection, but donations can be placed in baskets positioned around the church.
Those with fever, coronavirus, or in contact with an infected person cannot attend Mass. All must wear masks, regardless.
There will be no sign of peace and no choir, but an organist is allowed
Like the rest of the measures, if the number of infected people increases, religious ceremonies will be suspended again to stop the spread.
The Vatican has not announced when they will start celebrating public Masses, but they will likely follow in Italy’s footsteps and rebegin in the month of May.