Considerations for Re-Opening

During our final Keeping the Faith webinar, Rich Fischer and I had a conversation that asked a lot of questions. Things to consider as we plan to re-open our Churches. The conversation is in full above, I encourage you to take some time to watch. Below are some of our talking points. Parishioners are excited to come back, they are also nervous because they don’t know what to expect at the parish or with this virus.

What can you do to make the transition easier and smoother?

  • Who will direct everything?:
    • You need ushers/greeters/staff who are trained and all on the same page.
    • Do this training virtually beforehand and then in person before Mass begins.
    • Create a video where you walk through what parishioners can expect when they come to Mass for the first time, or as things change.
  • Social Distancing: when and where?
    • Entering and Exiting: Ushers seat people and dismiss people? What if there’s no option about where to sit? Every other or every 3rd pew, whatever works for your parish, 6 feet apart between households. Where to sit in the pew? Toward the center of the pew to maintain social distancing during communion line rather than the end.
    • Line for Communion? Spaces marked on the floor?
    • Flowing in and out of the Church? What doors will be open?
    • Wearing Masks? When and Who?
  • Will there be Limits to # of people in the Church or at the outside Mass?
    • What will you do when it’s full?
      • Doors open or closed
    • Will you have people sign up?
    • Will you assign them to Masses?
    • Will you have additional Masses?
    • If each week is limited, will you ask people who attended last week not to attend next week?
      • How? Sign Up Genius is an option
    • Additional Communion Services throughout the week?
    • Overflow into all areas of the parish, ask people to stream from their devices?
  • Mass Participation?
    • Music
      • Song Sheets, will you include the readings or Mass parts?
      • Have it electronically for people to follow on their phone?
      • Choir? Cantor? Organist?
    • Offertory
      • Come up to drop envelop?
      • Basket as they exit the church? Multiple locations? Is it secure?
    • Distribution of Communion
      • Who’s wearing masks? When to remove them?
      • Gloves, yes or no?
      • How will people line up?
      • Reception – preference for how? Procedure if they’re wearing a mask? On the tongue or in the hand?
      • Washing Hands before, between, after?
      • Making sure ministers are trained if you’re using non-clergy
      • Sanitize before communion and/or between?
      • No reception during Mass?
  • Your Virtual Environment
    • How will you continue to stream your Masses for people who aren’t able to attend for the foreseeable future?
      • Equipment, location, camera operator
    • Virtual Groups
    • Catechesis
    • Preparing for next year with the intention of going virtually in the wintertime
  • Continued Communication
    • Bulletin
    • Email Addresses, Texting
    • Calling Parishioners

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but going back to Mass isn’t quite as simple as it was before we ceased public Masses. Do what you can to keep parishioners safe!

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