CHARLESTON, S.C. — Catholic churches across South Carolina will resume allowing members of the public to attend Mass beginning Monday.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone made the announcement in a letter earlier this month, with in-person Sunday services set to resume next weekend. Priests have been celebrating Mass privately, with many services broadcast on the internet.
Individual churches are communicating restrictions to parishioners. At St. Joseph Catholic Church in Charleston, for example, the church is telling people not to come to Mass if they are sick, at high risk of illness, or older than 65. Worshipers are asked to stay 6 feet apart and not congregate before or after Mass. The church also says attendees should use a restroom at church only if absolutely necessary, and are “strongly encouraged” to take communion in the hand, not on the tongue. Holy water fonts will be empty.
Guglielmone says people who are uncomfortable with coming to church or who are at high risk are released from a Catholic’s weekly obligation to attend Mass until further notice.
“We are all hungry to receive the sacraments once again. This time away from the Eucharist has been painful. And, for so many, that struggle has been compounded by the loss of income and freedom for our families,” Guglielmone wrote. “These new guidelines may be challenging, so I ask everyone to do their very best to adjust to the new normal together as one family in faith.”
Livestreaming Mass will continue at certain parishes and the Chapel of the Holy Family in Charleston until further notice, WCIV-TV reported.