Diocese Announces Resumption of Public Masses With Directives and Guidelines
LEXINGTON — The Catholic Diocese of Lexington will resume public Masses, effective May 20, following the “Healthy at Work: Guidelines for Places of Worship,” as well as directives and guidelines for all public celebrations of liturgy provided by the diocese. The directives and guidelines were posted on the diocesan website on May 15, along with a letter from Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., to the people of the diocese.
“I do not want anyone to mistake the resumption of public Masses as a sign that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, because it is not,” wrote Bishop Stowe. He added, “Please note that this is not simply a return to how we celebrated before the outbreak of the pandemic. Churches will only be able to admit 33 percent of the occupancy of the building and social distancing will need to be maintained at all times.”
Parishes in Lexington, Ashland, Campton, Hazard, Jackson, Lawrenceburg, Morehead, Mount Sterling, Owingsville, Richmond and Winchester will resume public masses May 30-31; all other locations will resume May 23-24.
The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass continues in the Catholic Diocese of Lexington until further notice, and elderly people and other vulnerable populations are encouraged to continue to participate via livestreamed Masses, possibly attending weekday Masses as a safer alternative as well.
A few of the measures required for all liturgies also include: Social distancing of six feet between people not living in the same household must be followed at all times; masks are to be worn by the congregation and by ministers at all times when not speaking, reading or singing as part of their ministry; holy water fonts are to remain empty; hand sanitizer is to be available; there is to be no physical contact during the Lord’s Prayer or during the Sign of Peace; hand sanitizer is to be used before the distribution of Communion; Communion is distributed only in the form of bread and given to communicants only in the hand; there are to be no choirs.
The directives can be found online in English and Spanish.