Dear Fathers / Brothers / Sisters / Lay Faithful,
Peace of Christ!
We have finally decided to open the Churches for Public (Congregational) Worship by strictly following the Government directives and restrictions. No new directives have emanated as of now from the Government side, Central or State wise. I hereby reproduce below the Government directives regarding the opening of Religious places for public worship issued on 29th August 2020, which are still relevant:
“No. I. iii. Social / academic / sports / entertainment / cultural / religious / political functions and other congregations with a ceiling of 100 persons, will be permitted with effect from 21st September 2020, with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.
However, marriage related gatherings with number of guests not exceeding 50 and funeral / last rites related gatherings with number of persons not exceeding 20 will continue to be allowed upto 20th September 2020, after which the ceiling of 100 persons will apply”. (MHA order dated 29.08.2020 regarding unlocking of the public places like Churches for public services).
Accordingly, our Churches and Chapels may be opened for daily and Sunday Masses, provided the Congregation is not more than 100 persons (or one third of the capacity of the Church) at every service with physical distancing, sanitizing and checking with thermal gun etc. Please ensure that the other standing operation procedures mentioned in my previous directives, dated 07.09.2020, are followed very strictly.
The Church and the premises have to be sanitized by way of fogging before and after every service.
The Parish Priests are encouraged to have more services on Sundays and Days of Obligation, if such need arises in their parishes.
It is understood that request for Priests, especially from among the Religious, will have to be made, if more than the scheduled Masses have to be celebrated on Sundays and Days of Obligation.
It is advisable that the Parish Priest convenes the Meeting of the PPC and PFC Members to discuss about the opening of the churches and other spiritual ministries in the parish. It can be either Physical Presence by following the required SOPs or run a Zoom Meeting.
Please keep in touch with your respective Deans and area-wise Vicars General, in case of any difficulty in opening your Parish Churches for public services.
Date: 19.09.2020 + Peter Machado