Diocese of Scranton Announces Gradual Reopening of Parishes Amid Crisis

web1_TheDioceseofScranton-logo-1-In a video message to parishioners, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera announced details regarding the gradual reopening of additional parishes in the Diocese of Scranton.

Starting on Monday, June 1,  parishes in Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties resumed in-person Masses.

On Monday, June 8, parishes in Lackawanna County will also be able to resume in-person Masses. The exact timetable for an individual parish to reopen will be the decision of its pastor with regard to preparedness, especially in regards to maintaining proper social distancing and sanitizing.

Mass attendance at all parishes will be limited to no more than 25-percent of a church’s seating capacity. Parishioners will be required to wear face masks and remain a proper social distance of at least six feet away from other individuals/families.

“For the last 10 weeks, I know many of our faithful parishioners have been longing to return to church, participate in Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist,” Bishop Bambera said. “The Diocese has been working hard to resume in-person worship in a safe, comfortable and reverent manner.”

Masses in four counties, Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan and Tioga counties, resumed on Monday, May 18. While initially limited to a capacity of 25 people, parishes in those four counties can now also increase their Mass capacity to no more than 25-percent of total church occupancy. 

Additional guidance for all parishes includes:

  • Those who feel vulnerable because of their age or underlying medical conditions will be encouraged to stay home. •People who are feeling ill will be directed not to attend public Masses.
  • The Sunday Mass obligation remains suspended at this time.
  • Parishes are encouraged to continue live streaming Masses and a daily Mass will continue to be broadcast on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton.
  • Pews will be marked off or designated in order to maintain proper social distancing guidelines.
  • Holy Communion will be distributed at the end of Mass. Parishioners are strongly advised to receive the Body of Christ in the hand. Distribution of the Precious Blood remains suspended at this time.

“As the doors of our parishes reopen, everyone has an important role to play. The safety of our faithful people, our clergy and our community is the most important factor guiding any decisions that are made,” Bishop Bambera added. 

Bishop Bambera encourages the faithful to visit the Diocese of Scranton’s website for the latest news and information regarding the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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