Churches in Pittsburgh Diocese may begin to offer daily Mass and weekend Masses according to plan
June 2, 2020
Priests in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh have begun offering daily Mass on Monday, June 1, and will begin weekend Masses on June 6 and 7, as allowable in Phase 2 of the diocesan reopening plan.
In continued alignment with local, state, and federal health and safety guidelines, Bishop David Zubik is announcing the following additional directives:
• Monday, June 1: Churches may open for daily Mass, in addition to private prayer and confessions, weddings, funerals, and baptisms, with no more than 25 people in attendance. Social distancing of six feet and all other safety guidelines must be followed.
• Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7, until further notice: Churches may open for weekend Masses, respecting social distancing of six feet, which equates to about 25% capacity. Each pastor will assess his specific situation and determine a method for keeping track of the number of people attending and controlling attendance so it does not exceed allowable limits.
• Monday, June 8, until further notice: Daily Mass attendance is allowed to increase to 25% of the church seating capacity, maintaining social distancing, and all other safety directives. As the weeks progress, the percentage rate may increase based on the smoothness of this reopening process.
• The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect.
• Live streaming Masses will continue.
• This is a fluid situation, and Bishop Zubik, in consultations with a diocesan COVID-19 Task Force, will continue to monitor and evaluate the reopening process and make adjustments as warranted.
• In all phases of reopening, the Diocese of Pittsburgh will remain in alignment with local, state, and federal public health and safety guidelines. Parishioners will be required to wear masks, use hand sanitizer, and maintain social distancing of six feet (side-to-side, as well as front and back).
• Although churches are permitted to open for daily Mass, it should not be expected all churches in the Diocese of Pittsburgh will do so. The decision to reopen a church rests with pastors, who need to base their decisions on a number of factors including their ability to comply with CDC cleaning and sanitizing protocols. The diocese is offering support to pastors and parish teams as they assess their spaces and their ability to meet all safety requirements.
Returning to churches will be a very different experience, and to support parishioners in understanding what to expect, the diocese has a new Moving Forward Together area on its website geared toward helping parishioners with what to expect as they return to worship together in church. Those resources are available here: https://diopitt.org/moving-forward-together.