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Youngstown Diocese issues guidelines for public Mass

Catholic faithful continue to be dispensed from Sunday obligation

YOUNGSTOWN — The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown plans to resume public Masses and liturgies Monday. The Diocese has released several guidelines for all its parishes to follow.

The Catholic faithful who reside in the Diocese of Youngstown — especially those who are sick or at high risk of becoming sick — continue to be dispensed from their Sunday obligation until further notice. The Easter Duty obligation is extended for one year from the end of the Easter Season 2020.

Guidelines effective Monday are:

• Holy water fonts are to remain empty until further notice;

• All hymnals / missalettes are to be removed and stored for the time being. At each Mass, disposable worship aids should be distributed and then discarded;

• The practice of passing baskets throughout the assembly for offering collection temporarily is suspended. Some options are to use traditional long-handled baskets or to place stationary baskets at the entrances of the church for worshippers to drop their offering at the beginning of Mass;

• Physical contact during the Lord’s Prayer (holding hands) and the Sign of Peace is suspended. For the Sign of Peace, those present are encouraged to bow to others and offer words of peace;

• As for receiving Holy Communion, it is highly encouraged and strongly recommended the reception of Holy Communion be given in the hand. While reception of Holy Communion on the tongue cannot be prohibited, it is discouraged at this time. Those desiring to receive Holy Communion on the tongue are to be last in line and receive only from the priest. In the event that the priest’s fingers come in contact with the mouth and / or saliva of the communicant, he immediately must sanitize his fingers before continuing with the next in line;

• Reception of the Precious Blood from the chalice by the assembly temporarily is suspended;

• Appropriate spacing between individuals in the communion procession is to be maintained;

• Holy Communion also is not to be distributed with gloves, nor may it be received in the hand with gloves;

• When approaching the minister, the communicant is to pull their mask, if wearing one, below their chin. The minister, after saying, “Body of Christ,” is to carefully place the host into the hand of the communicant, avoiding any incidental contact. Communicants, after responding, “Amen,” reverently place the Eucharist in their mouth and replace their mask.

The Diocese of Youngstown states that directives / guidelines remain in effect by order of Bishop George Murry and will be revised or changed should any further directive issued by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the Bishops of Ohio or Murry.

Those with questions or concerns may call their parish or the Diocese Office of Worship at 330-744-8451, Ext. 282.

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