SACRAMENTO—After careful consideration and planning with health experts at the county and state levels, Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto has approved parishes to resume public celebrations of Mass beginning June 14, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi. Parishes who have made the necessary preparations may begin celebrating public Mass as early as June 8.
In cooperation with the state’s guidelines, attendance at Mass will be limited to 25 percent of a church’s normal capacity or a maximum of 100 congregants, whichever is lower. Parishioners are asked to check with their local parish on the protocol in place for managing the number of congregants at a Mass and to check the schedule of Masses.
In a message to the faithful, Bishop Jaime Soto called on parishioners to see the guidelines and the changes they bring as an opportunity for an expression of their faith. “With these new guidelines in place, we are still not able to come back to the table as in the past,” Bishop Soto said. “As we adapt to these changes, we are all called to greater charity and understanding during this transition. Our continued vigilance respects those who are afflicted and honors those who risk their own lives in caring for them. The patient efforts each of us makes are acts of Christian solidarity that will strengthen the whole Body of Christ.”
The dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass, issued by Bishop Soto on March 13, remains in effect. Those who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or who are otherwise more vulnerable to this virus are strongly encouraged to stay home and participate via the livestreamed Masses available.
Extensive safeguards will be in place at all parishes to protect the health of parishioners and the community. These safeguards were developed in close cooperation with public health experts at the county and state levels, and include:
- Thorough, frequent sanitization of churches, including pews, door handles, railings, etc.
- Removal of shared items such as hymnals or missals
- Social distancing between those who do not share a household
- Not holding hands during the Our Father, as well as the continued suspension of the Communion cup and the Sign of Peace
- Encouraged use of masks by all congregants