In-person public Masses will resume in Catholic churches May 25, but dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation has not been lifted, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati on Friday.
Worship been visible only online the past eight weeks and will stay that way for two more weeks.
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“I must emphasize that this is not going to be ‘a return to normal,’” Archbishop Dennis Schnurr wrote in a letter to local Catholics. “Health and safety requirements and recommendations must continue to be followed. Among these are social distancing, the use of face masks and concern for the most vulnerable.”
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The archdiocese will continue to broadcast Masses from the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains in downtown Cincinnati. Daily Masses will be celebrated at 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday. Each Mass will be streamed live on the archdiocese's website and on its Facebook page.
The archdiocese also released a five-page document of guidelines for restarting Masses, citing resources from the Centers for Disease Control and the Ohio Department of Health in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
The guidelines include removing shared hymnals and other books from pews, emptying holy water fonts, not allowing a communion wine chalice, avoiding the usual handshakes or hugs at the “sign of peace,” and other steps.
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“Because of social distancing, church capacity will be significantly reduced and the number of people who attend a particular Mass will have to be regulated and limited,” Schnurr’s letter said. “Please remember that you have been dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, and that dispensation will remain in place for the foreseeable future.”
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