The dispensation for Connecticut Roman Catholics from their obligation to attend Mass will expire on May 22, according to Hartford Archbishop Leonard Blair.
When it was put into place on March 16, 2020, the dispensation coincided with the cancelation of weekend and weekday Masses. Those cancelations remained in effect through June 8, 2020, but the dispensation allowing Catholics in Connecticut to miss Mass was extended several times out of an abundance of caution for parishioners and clergy, Most Rev. Blair said in a release Monday.
The Bishops from the Dioceses of Bridgeport and Norwich joined Archbishop Blair in making Monday's announcement.
Following the state guidelines that will take effect May 19, parishes can return to 100% capacity with no special social distancing requirements, with the following exceptions:
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- Pew barriers and tape, signs, etc. that were previously used to direct the flow of traffic in aisles can be removed.
- Masks remain required for all who enter the church.
- Choirs and musicians can be reintroduced as deemed appropriate by the pastor, and congregational singing is once again allowed with masks remaining on during singing and throughout the liturgy.
- The procedures for distributing Holy Communion will remain in place:
- Ministers of Holy Communion sanitize their hands prior to distributing.
- Both the ministers of Holy Communion and those receiving are to wear masks.
- Communicants will receive the consecrated host in their hand, step to the side, lower their mask, consume the host, replace their mask, and return to their pew.
- Communion on the tongue should continue to be discouraged for the sake of the health of others. For those that continue to insist, they can be given Communion only after everyone else has received.
- There is still to be no distribution of the Precious Blood, and this continues to apply to deacons as well.