Parishioners urged to wear face masks
Friday, Jun. 05, 2020
SALT LAKE CITY — A May 27 memo from the Diocese of Salt Lake City urges parishioners to wear a face mask throughout Mass if they attend a liturgical service at a Catholic church.
The memo, sent to diocesan priests and deacons, addressed guidelines for parishes to follow as Catholic churches in Utah respond to the more relaxed restrictions on social gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of the points in the memo reiterated the information sent in recent weeks as the state government has allowed for larger social gatherings. However, the May 27 memo cautioned that, “We do not assume the spread of the virus has diminished because of these new guidelines. We should maintain and continue our precautionary measures to ensure we are protecting one another from the spread of COVID-19.”
Bishop Oscar A. Solis has suspended the Sunday and Holy Day obligation to attend Mass until further notice. Parishioners and parish staff who are in the groups most at risk in the pandemic are asked to remain home and participate in virtual or televised Masses.
Each parish has been asked to limit the number of those attending Mass in their church so that a 6-foot distance can be maintained between all those who are not members of the same household. (Families may sit together.) The diocese directs that the church be sanitized after each service.
Other recommendations include distributing Communion only on the hand, having ministers use hand sanitizer before the distribution of Communion, limiting the number of ministers, removing hymnals and other worship aids unless they can be discarded after one use, limiting the music ministry, dispensing with the procession of the gifts, and avoiding physical contact during the Sign of Peace and the Lord’s Prayer.
The full May 27 document is available on the diocesan website, www.dioslc.org.
A diocesan ad hoc task force on the coronavirus is being formed to oversee and review best practices in the diocese, according to the memo, which was signed by Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general.