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Orange County Catholic Diocese Will Reopen in Small Steps

Orange County Catholic Diocese Will Reopen in Small Steps

The Christ Cathedral in Orange prior to the pandemic.

 

BY BRIAN HEWS

The  Catholic Diocese of Orange posted plans to reopen for public Mass to resume in phases  starting June 14.

But Bishop Kevin Vann has extended the dispensation excusing Catholics from the obligation to attend Mass until large gatherings are deemed safe again.

“The pandemic is far from over, so we will begin with small steps,” said Diocese of Orange Bishop Kevin Vann in a statement. “Realizing that reinfection is a concern, as we saw occurred in Texas and elsewhere, I am asking our pastors to prepare their churches to ensure that these guidelines are followed without exception.”

The first phase includes allowing small groups of healthy people to gather for limited Mass, the second phase will allow for larger groups; the third will permit choirs and social gatherings. All phases will require participants to follow strict guidelines for social distancing and disinfection, officials said.

The diocese is asking all parishes to observe the following rules and guidelines:

  • Those over 65, with underlying health conditions or those who have symptoms of illness, will be encouraged not to return to Mass.
  • The church will be thoroughly sanitized before and after each service. Holy water fonts will be empty.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at all churches.
  • Local safety orders relating to face masks will be followed.
  • People will be instructed to not touch each other while greeting.
  • Churches will post signage to encourage practices such as covering a cough or sneeze.
  • Ventilation will be increased by opening doors and windows, as weather permits.

 

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