Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
As we continue to see improvement in recovery from the COVID pandemic and as mask guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated have been relaxed by the CDC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I wanted to bring you up to date on some things that I announced at the conclusion of last week’s Masses. Also, just the other day, it was announced that in the (Arch)Dioceses of Boston, Fall River, Worcester, Springfield, Burlington, VT, Manchester, NH and Portland, ME, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will be lifted beginning the weekend of June 19/20. Information on that will be below.
Unmasking at St. Bart’s
Beginning this weekend, we will allow for those who have been fully vaccinated to remove their masks while seated in the church. In order to do this we will have “mask optional” seating on the right side of the church as you face the altar. The left side of the church as you are facing the altar will be considered “Masks required.” This will be because some of our more vulnerable population require the open seating at the front for mobility issues. Those who are not fully vaccinated should remember that there may be people in the church who are unable to be vaccinated and may be unable to wear masks such as young children. Being a pro-family Church, you should consider carefully the moral obligation to continue to wear masks in order to protect the most vulnerable.
At this time, I don’t know how many people will be wanting the “mask required” side and how many the “mask optional” side of the church. That will remain to be seen. If you plan on wearing a mask but are still comfortable being seated in a section with those who are not, please feel free to sit there and allow more space for those who wish to sit in the “mask required” side.
Masks should be removed only when seated. To ensure everyone’s safety and comfort, for the time being, masks will be required when (1) entering the church; (2) moving about inside the church, e.g., going to the restroom, coming up for Communion; and (3) leaving the church until you are outside.
Those who wish to receive Communion on the tongue are asked to keep to the end of the Communion line and come to the priest to receive Communion. Please see this as performing an act of charity towards those who might feel uncomfortable receiving Communion after you have.
Beginning this week, also, we will do away with the need to sign up for Masses. The only sign ups that will remain will be for the crying rooms. We are blessed to have these crying rooms and during this time of pandemic they provide an extra degree of safety for those who have some additional concerns or may have children that are unable to be masked. Please save the sign up for the crying rooms for those who really need it. Thank you.