Bishops and pastors, take note.
My friend Bishop Frank Caggiano from the Diocese of Bridgeport posted the video below on social media today, announcing that the bishops of Connecticut have decided to lift the dispensation allowing Catholics to stay home from Mass.
But how he made this announcement is notable.
This message is beautiful — full of warmth, encouragement, compassion and hope. Here’s an invitation that is hard to refuse.
This is how you encourage people to come back to the pews.
Footnote: Connecticut is lifting many restrictions on church gatherings:
Following the state guidelines that will take effect May 19, parishes can return to 100% capacity with no special social distancing requirements, with the following exceptions:
Pew barriers and tape, signs, etc. that were previously used to direct the flow of traffic in aisles can be removed.
Masks remain required for all who enter the church.
Choirs and musicians can be reintroduced as deemed appropriate by the pastor, and congregational singing is once again allowed with masks remaining on during singing and throughout the liturgy.
The procedures for distributing Holy Communion will remain in place:
Ministers of Holy Communion sanitize their hands prior to distributing
Both the ministers of Holy Communion and those receiving are to wear masks.
Communicants will receive the consecrated host in their hand, step to the side, lower their mask, consume the host, replace their mask, and return to their pew.
Communion on the tongue should continue to be discouraged for the sake of the health of others. For those that continue to insist, they can be given Communion only after everyone else has received.
There is still to be no distribution of the Precious Blood, and this continues to apply to deacons as well.