The Diocese of Lansing is preparing to restore public Masses on Monday May 18, 2020, with continuing measures in place to protect public health.
“The Catholic community of the Diocese of Lansing has made some big and, yes, painful sacrifices over the past weeks in order to live out Christ’s divine instruction to love our neighbor as we have attempted to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, prevent our healthcare workers from being overwhelmed, and uphold all elements of the common good,” said Director of Worship for the Diocese of Lansing, Jeremy Priest, April 30.
While public Masses have been suspended across the Diocese of Lansing since March 17, parishes have continued to celebrate baptisms, weddings, and funerals, with small groups present, while priests have also continued to offer regular confessions. The Sacrament of the Sick has also continued to be administered including the anointing of COVID-19 patients.
In the meantime, some relaxations have already begun to take place in recent days including private Masses for those receiving First Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation. In addition, churches may continue to remain open for private prayer and, indeed, Bishop Earl Boyea is encouraging parishes to offer such opportunities for personal piety while keeping appropriate precautions in place.
Over the coming days, Bishop Boyea will be finalizing guidelines as to how parishes may safely re-open public Masses on May 18. This will include advice on maintaining social distancing which will see the capacity of church buildings reduced. There will also be advice on maintaining good hygiene for those in attendance at public Masses including clergy and lay faithful.
“As with other aspects of public life, the effectiveness of our social-distancing and hygiene guidelines at our public Masses will be monitored,” said Jeremy Priest.
“We are not precisely sure at this stage what our future practice will look like as the weeks and months progress but it’s our intention to move things forward as safely as we can.”