As of Monday, May 31, 2021, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania lifts all building sanitation, distancing and capacity restrictions. All parishes and institutions in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties are free to lift all building sanitation, distancing and capacity restrictions on Monday, May 31, 2021. However, the City of Philadelphia will continue to observe the current COVID-19 restrictions until Friday, June 11, 2021.
THE USE OF FACE COVERINGS AND MASKS
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidance on the use of face coverings and masks as of Thursday, May 13, 2021. According to this guidance, people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus no longer need to wear masks or follow social distancing restrictions (in most indoor and outdoor settings, except as required by state and local laws or other regulations). The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania automatically adopted the relaxed measures on Thursday, May 13, 2021. As stated in previous liturgical directives, there is no requirement for those in the sanctuary to wear a face covering or mask.
Please be reminded we should all be respectful of a person’s choice not to wear or to wear a face covering or mask in churches in the Archdiocese. The non-use or use of a face covering or mask will not be imposed unilaterally in churches throughout the Archdiocese. If a face covering or mask is worn, it is to be removed before the reception of the Body of Christ at the Communion of the Mass.
The faithful continue to be dispensed by the Archbishop from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation until further notice. The faithful are encouraged to return to in-person Sunday Mass and the celebration of all the Sacraments, especially those who are in good health. The Parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel is working toward live streaming the vigil Mass each week beginning June 5, 2021, and will continue to post a recording of the Mass on the website.
THE CELEBRATION OF THE SACRED LITURGY
All liturgical ministers—altar servers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should exercise their ministries as usual in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy without any exceptions or restrictions. Liturgical singing can take place without any restrictions. All fitting instruments may be used without any restrictions. Cantors, quartets and choirs may be employed without any restrictions. Hymnals and worship aids may be used without any restrictions.
Our Lady of Good Counsel will resume the procession of Gifts during the Offertory beginning June 5, 2021.
The Invitation and the use of the Sign of Peace continue to be suspended until further notice.
The celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Penance and Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Matrimony are to be carried out without exceptions or restrictions, as directed by the liturgical books. Confessions can be heard in the confessional, anonymously or face to face, without any restrictions.