As cities and towns across Connecticut implement policies on facemasks amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, of the Diocese of Bridgeport, is giving guidance about mask-wearing to churches in the diocese.
People who are not vaccinated against the virus are required to wear masks inside parish facilities and parishes are urged to follow local guidelines when it comes to requirements for people who are vaccinated.
“As we have seen in recent weeks, the trajectory of the pandemic has significantly worsened due to the spread of the Delta variant in our state. It is concerning to see the rate of infection and hospitalization begin to significantly rise, after we had seen so much progress against the pandemic in the past few months,” Bishop Caggiano wrote.
He said questions have arisen about the need to return to wearing masks indoors during all church functions, including the celebration of Mass, and questions have taken on greater urgency in cities and towns that are requiring masks to be worn indoors at all public events.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
People who are not vaccinated are required to wear masks in all parish facilities, including during the celebration of Mass.
If local authorities mandate the return use of masks for all public indoor gatherings, the bishop expects parishes to comply with the mandate and inform parishioners to bring a mask for use whenever they enter any parish facility, regardless of their vaccination status, until the local mandate is lifted.
Where local officials have not required the use of masks during indoor gatherings, parishioners who are not vaccinated are required to wear a face mask.
Those who are vaccinated are welcome, but not required, to wear masks.
“I realize that there will be many mixed reactions to any return use of masks at Mass. However, from the start of the pandemic, we have committed ourselves to protect human life that is most vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus. We have also cooperated with state and local authorities to protect the common good. It is my hope and fervent prayer that these measures, where they are being mandated, will be short-lived as the effects of the Delta variant begin to recede,” the bishop wrote.