11/20/2020, 12.38
INDIA
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Card Gracias: Mass celebrations to resume in Mumbai

“We have to ensure that all entering the Church wear masks, observe social distancing (unless it is the same family) and make provision for washing of hands.” “Priests may celebrate additional Masses both on Sundays and on weekdays to ensure, if possible, that all your parishioners have an opportunity to participate in the Eucharist at least once a week.”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Masses will resume in Mumbai on 29 November, but will comply with all anti-COVID-19 measures, this according to Cardinal Oswald Gracias who wrote a letter addressed to deans, pastors and priests.

During a “very productive" meeting with the deans, “We reviewed the situation in our churches after they had been opened two days earlier. Effective Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) were in place, and there was a prayerful atmosphere in all our churches. We decided it would be beneficial to all if we followed a uniform policy all over the Archdiocese.”

“Coming to our preparations for further opening of our Churches: In the Archdiocese of Bombay we will resume the public celebration of the Eucharist, with restrictions, at the beginning of the new Liturgical Year: the First Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2020.

“Each parish has time till then, with the assistance of the special team constituted for this, to finalise the SOPs and to make arrangements. We have to ensure that all entering the church wear masks, observe social distancing (unless it is the same family) and make provision for washing of hands.

“Do advise people to do this at home before coming to Church. The number of faithful to be permitted is to be decided by you (I had suggested 1/3rd of the capacity. You can reduce it further).”

“The church has to be sanitized before each Service. I am advised that the equipment for this is easily available. Also to remind you: no touching of statues to be permitted, water stoups to be empty, discourage bringing of flowers to the Church.”

“Priests may celebrate additional Masses both on Sundays and on weekdays to ensure, if possible, that all your parishioners have an opportunity to participate in the Eucharist at least once a week. We have the SCC zones already in place.

“You could use this structure for determining who could come for Mass on which day, if convenient. The dispensation from attending Sunday Masses continues till further notice. The Government has advised that those about sixty-five years and those below ten years of age not to come for large religious gatherings. We advocate the same.”

“On Sunday, November 22, the Feast of Christ the King, many will have an adoration service before the Blessed Sacrament: with different groups coming at different times so that the number is controlled. Please ensure that the COVID regulations (masks, social distancing) are observed.

“Each parish could decide how to organize the Adoration service: silent adoration / liturgy of the Word / Benediction, etc. You have then the whole of the last week of the Liturgical Year to get your SOPs in place and prepare and announce the arrangements.”

“As the Government has forbidden the distribution of sacred food in places of worship, only the celebrating priest(s) will receive Holy Communion at Mass. Your dean will advise you how to arrange for Holy Communion for our people.

“Each parish is different and hence general instructions are not possible. In early December (after our priestly ordinations on December 3rd), we will have an opportunity to review with the deans the arrangements made and prepare for our Christmas celebrations.”

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