Reopening our Parish Ministries and Activities

A few weeks ago, Bishop McElroy issued a letter to priests regarding when we can reopen our parish activities (besides the Mass, which we are already doing.)  Here is the bulk of the letter:

As you know during the past three weeks I have been consulting with the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Presbyteral Council on the issue of the time-line for removing the restrictions on liturgical, pastoral, catechetical and social life in our parishes, schools, and organizations as the pandemic recedes.

In all of these conversations the participants stressed the need to lift these restrictions in a prudent way while recognizing that the pandemic is still among us. It was also pointed out repeatedly that the provision of a general time-line at this time will be particularly helpful for the planning that the priests and parish and school staffs must carry out in preparing for the Fall.

With this in mind, I have concluded that the existing restrictions will be lifted in two phases. On Pentecost, the Diocesan restrictions limiting activities related to faith formation, prayer, worship, catechetics, sports and scouts will be lifted for groups of less than 50 people, with social distancing and masking being observed. There can be no large social gatherings at this point. 

On September 1st, social gatherings and all of the usual activities of parish life can return with social distancing and masking. It would be the decision of each parish or school at this point to determine how shared space utilization should be implemented from that date onward.