RICHMOND, Va. -- The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced that masses may resume after two months of being suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak in Virginia.
Public masses can officially resume on May 23.
“We have been in the diocese planning for some time to find ways to provide the sacraments and Masses but with limitations to keep the safety and well-being of all in consideration. We expect a gradual opening due to the size and difference of our parishes within each locality and given individual parish circumstances,” Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout, Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, said.
This excludes parishes in Richmond and Accomack after Governor Northam amended Executive Order 62 delaying reopening of those jurisdictions until May 29th.
This affects about 10 churches in the City of Richmond and two on the Eastern Shore.
Bishop Knestout said those parishes can open on May 30 for public masses.
Reopening guidelines have been sent to parishes by the diocese. These include:
- Limiting to 50% capacity in churches
- Social distancing of six feet
- Everyone over the age of 3 are required to wear face masks at all times
During this time Bishop Knestout continues to dispense Catholics from the obligation of attending Masses and holy days. This is to limit the number of people in attendance of masses.
“We look forward to the day when we will all gather again, when physical distance doesn’t limit us and we will be able to rejoice in the strength and the grace offered to us in the Eucharist,” said Bishop Knestout. “Know of my deep gratitude for your patience, support and cooperation as we work together as one Catholic community during this time.”
Parishes are encouraged to continue live streaming services and allow for time to clean between masses.
Anyone with questions about the reopening of churches can contact their parish or firstname.lastname@example.org