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Protocol with the Italian Episcopal Conference on the resumption of celebrations with the people

Protocol with the Italian Episcopal Conference on the resumption of celebrations with the people

The subject of this protocol is the implementation of the safety measures necessary for the gradual resumption of liturgical celebrations with people. These measures have to be observed very carefully, in compliance with the sanitary regulations and with the measures of containment and management of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemiological emergency.

Access to places of worship for liturgical celebrations

1.1.    Places of worship must be accessed individually, in such a way as to avoid any gathering in the building and in the adjoining premises, like the sacristy and the churchyard.

1.2.    In compliance with the legislation on interpersonal distancing, the legal representative of the body has to identify the maximum capacity of the religious building, taking into account the minimum safety distance which must be equal to at least one meter on the side and on the front.

1.3.    Access to the church, in this phase of transition, remains limited and regulated by volunteers and / or collaborators who – wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, disposable gloves and a clear sign of recognition – favour the access and the exit, and monitor the maximum number of permitted participants. If the expected participation of the believers significantly exceeds the maximum number of permitted participants, consider the possibility of increasing the number of liturgical celebrations.

1.4.    In order to promote an orderly access, during which the safety distance of at least 1.5 meters must be observed, several entrances must be used, where available, possibly distinguishing those reserved for the entrance from those reserved for the exit. During the entrance and exit of the believers the doors have to remain open to promote a safer flow and to prevent doors and handles from being touched.

1.5.    Those who enter the places of worship for liturgical celebrations must wear masks.

1.6.    The believers must be reminded that it is not allowed to enter the celebration site in case of flu/respiratory symptoms or if the body temperature is equal to or above 37.5° C.

Moreover, access to the celebration site is not allowed to those who have been in contact with people who tested positive for SARS-CoV - 2 in the previous days.

1.7.    Promote, as far as possible, the access of persons with disabilities, providing suitable spaces for their participation in the celebrations, in compliance with the current legislation.

1.8.    Hygienic liquids are made available at the entrances to the places of worship.

2.    Sanitation of places and objects

2.1.    The places of worship, including the sacristy, have to be regularly sanitised at the end of each celebration, by cleaning the surfaces with suitable detergents with antiseptic action. Also, take care of favouring the air exchange.

2.2.    At the end of each celebration, the sacred vessels, ampoules and other objects used, as well as the microphones themselves, must be thoroughly disinfected.
2.3.    Continue to keep the church's stoups empty.

3.    Rules to be observed carefully during the liturgical celebrations

3.1.    In order to promote compliance with the rules of distancing, it is necessary to minimize the presence of concelebrants and ministers, who are in any case required to observe the established distance also in the presbytery.

3.2.    The presence of an organist is allowed, but in this phase the choir is not.

3.3.    Among the preparatory rites for the Communion, the exchange of the sign of peace should continue to be omitted.

3.4.    The distribution of the Communion occurs after the celebrant and any extraordinary minister have taken care of the hygiene of their hands and put on disposable gloves; the same - wearing a mask, being very careful to cover their nose and mouth and to keep an adequate safety distance - must offer the host without coming into contact with the hands of the believers.

3.5.    The believers must ensure to observe the safety distance.

3.6.    For hygienic and sanitary reasons, the presence of church songbooks or of other type are not appropriate in the spaces intended for believers.

3.7.    Any offers must not be collected during the celebration, but through special containers, which can be placed at the entrances of the church or in another places deemed suitable.

3.8.    The aforementioned provisions relating to the distancing and to the use of suitable personal protective equipment must be observed not only during the Eucharist celebrations but also during other celebrations: Baptism, Marriage, Anointing of the Sick and Funeral.

3.9.    The sacrament of Penance should be administered in wide and ventilated places, which allow full observance of the distancing measures and the confidentiality required by the sacrament itself. The priest and the believers must always wear their mask.

3.10.    The celebration of the Confirmation sacrament is postponed.

4.    Adequate communication

4.1.    It will be the responsibility of each Ordinary to make persons aware of the contents of this Protocol, through the methods that ensure the best dissemination.

4.2.    A poster with the essential indications will be placed at the entrance of every church. This will include:

-    the maximum number of participants allowed in relation to the capacity of the building;

-    the entry ban for those who have flu/respiratory symptoms, body temperature equal to or above 37.5° C or have been in contact with people who tested positive to SARS-CoV - 2 in the previous days;

-    the obligation to always observe the safety distance when entering the church, the observance of the hand hygiene rules and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, including a mask covering nose and mouth.

1    In the anointing provided for in the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Anointing of the sick, the minister must wear disposable gloves in addition to the mask.

5.    Other suggestions

5.1.    If the place of worship is not suitable for compliance with the indications of this Protocol, the local Ordinary can consider the possibility of outdoor celebrations, ensuring dignity and compliance with the health regulations.

5.2.    We remind about the exemption from the Sunday precept for reasons of health and age.

5.3.    The broadcasting of the celebrations in streaming mode is encouraged for the enjoyment of those who cannot participate in the Eucharistic celebration.