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Wichita Catholic Diocese to resume public Masses May 6, some changes

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Catholic Diocese of Wichita says it will begin holding public Masses on Wednesday, May 6.

Bishop Carl A. Kemme said that they realize the coronavirus pandemic is far from over.

“Because of this, I want to urge all those in the high risk population and others who so choose to continue to use the general dispensation I am giving from the obligation to attend the Sunday celebration of the Mass, which continues indefinitely during this crisis,” said Kemme. “Please do not put yourself or others at risk by attending the Masses once they resume.”

The Diocese of Wichita issued guidelines for having public Mass during Phase One of Governor Laura Kelly’s reopening Kansas plan. Phase One is from May 6-20.

The guidelines were based on restrictions in Sedgwick County. Pastors in other counties that have different restrictions should contact Fr. David Lies, the vicar general.

The list of guidelines is extensive. It includes:

  • Limit the number of people to 33% of the occupancy of the worship space.
  • People who live in the same house may sit together, but with no more than ten persons within each group. Others must sit at least six feet from other individuals or groupings.
  • People should be seated starting at the front of the church and moving to the back as they enter in order to facilitate prompt spacing and seating.
  • Ushers should guide persons at the back of the church to depart first followed by the next rows leading to the front of the church.
  • People are strongly encouraged to wear masks before, during and after the Mass, with the exception of receiving Holy Communion.
  • Priests are required to wear masks only during the distribution of Holy Communion.
  • People are strongly encouraged to receive Holy Communion in the hand, or to make an Act of Spiritual Communion.
  • In approaching Holy Communion, people must maintain a six foot distance from each other.
  • The collection is not to be taken by the passing of a basket.
  • Holy Water fonts should remain empty.
  • Consider the removal of all hymnals, missals, prayer cards or other material kept in the pews, otherwise those items will need to be disinfected if touched.
  • Sung music should only be offered by Mass cantors and the priest. Singing by people in attendance is discouraged to limit the possibility of the oral transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

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