From the Diocese of Syracuse:
Syracuse, NY — Most Reverend Douglas J. Lucia issued updated COVID protocols that take effect immediately. The changes have been made after consulting the new guidelines provided by the CDC and NYS as well as consultation with staff and medical professionals.
The modifications focus on mask wearing, social distancing, and other liturgical practices. In a letter dated May 21, 2021, Bishop Lucia states that “the revised protocols are meant to aid to a fuller return to Divine Worship on the Lord’s Day by providing for a less restrictive, but still safe worship environment. These protocols go into effect immediately, but it may take our parishes until next weekend to implement them fully, so I ask for your patience and understanding.”
He further states that, “with the lifting of restrictions, I will discontinue in the Diocese of Syracuse the dispensation from Sunday Mass beginning on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ on Sunday, June 6th… As of the first Sunday of June, the Catholic faithful are asked to resume their full and active participation in the Eucharistic liturgy through physical attendance at the Saturday Vigil Mass or Sunday Mass.”
The revised protocols will allow celebrations of Mass in the Diocese of Syracuse to resemble those before the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks and social distancing are no longer required for fully vaccinated people. Other changes include:
· Hymnals and missalettes can once again be used.
· Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion may resume their ministry with proper hand hygiene before and after Holy Communion.
· The Offertory Procession with the gifts of the bread and wine can resume.
· Choirs with vaccinated members can operate as normal, while unvaccinated members must maintain social distancing.
· Altar servers may resume their ministry with proper hygiene procedures.
· Collection baskets may resume as normal.
There are a few protocols that will not change. Hand hygiene, in general, is still required, and Holy Communion is still to be given in the form of bread only. There are no shared Communion cups and receiving Communion in the hand is still recommended.
Bishop Lucia praised the people of the diocese for their faithful participation during these challenging times and encouraged people to take the necessary measures they need to return to Mass. “Appropriate measures are being taken to accommodate the faithful with the awareness that they include both vaccinated and unvaccinated members. We rely on the goodness and honesty of our people to follow State guidelines regarding those fully vaccinated and unvaccinated,” the bishop stated.