HARTFORD, Conn. — The Archdiocese of Hartford announced plans to resume public Masses with public health guidelines in place.
According to the new guidelines, Archbishop Blair has extended the dispensation of Sunday Mass obligation through Sunday, September 6.
However, on June 8, parishes will be allowed to reopen for public weekday Masses only.
The following rules are included in the archdioceses reopening guidelines:
- No more than 50 people may attend Mass at one time.
- People must also remain 6-feet apart while in the building.
- Attendees are required to wear masks or face coverings, bring hand sanitizer for use during the liturgy
- The ban of any publicly scheduled confessions is lifted, but done at the discretion of the pastor
The update comes after the initially cancelled services effective March 17 and subsequently extended that to April 30 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Officials said they were complying with the CDC and Governor Lamont's executive orders.
Now, with the lessening of pandemic cases, officials said individuals can expect new guidance for parishes next week.
According to the Archdiocese of Hartford, plans include resuming public Masses on weekdays at first, then expanding to Sundays.
Priests have celebrated daily Mass alone with no congregation, remembering in prayer all who are affected by the pandemic.
Officials encouraged parishes to make provisions for their churches to be open at some time so that individuals can still come and pray.
The Catholic Mass is televised on CW20 WCCT TV daily at 10 a.m.
This week, President Trump said churches and other houses of worship should be considered essential, and allowed to open during the coronavirus pandemic.
He announced that governors should let places of worship to open "right now," because the country needs more prayer.
"Today I’m identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogues and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services," Trump said Friday. He said if governors don't abide by his request, he will “override" them, though it's unclear what authority he has to do so.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had prepared a draft of reopening guidelines for churches and other houses of worship weeks ago that included measures like maintaining distance between parishioners and limiting the size of gatherings.
But that guidance had been delayed for more than a month by the administration until Trump abruptly reversed course Thursday.
The Archdiocese of Hartford thanked parishioners for their patience and understanding during this process.