SCRANTON (May 14, 2021) – The Diocese of Scranton today issued revised guidelines concerning the celebration of public Masses in its 11 counties, effective immediately.
The changes come after the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention announced Thursday that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or keep physical distancing in most settings. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has adopted these recommendations effective immediately.
“The health and safety of our communities continues to be of paramount importance. Given the recent positive trends and widespread vaccinations, we are happy to announce numerous changes that can begin immediately in parishes,” Bishop Joseph C. Bambera said in a message to pastors announcing the changes. “As we have all come to realize over the last 14 months, guidelines can change very quickly. I want to express my gratitude to everyone for their flexibility and hard work in putting the changing directives into effect.”
The Diocese of Scranton invites those who have not yet returned to Mass to rejoin us in person to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life. Many pastors are reporting an increase in the number of people who are returning to Mass in person now that they have been vaccinated.
It is essential for the public to be aware that even as restrictions are being eased, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day Masses remains in place in the Diocese of Scranton.
A full listing of the new guidelines for the celebration of public Masses in the Diocese of Scranton can be found on the Diocese of Scranton’s website. Some of the significant changes include:
- Individuals who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 are not required to wear masks while attending Mass or receiving Holy Communion. Fully vaccinated individuals are welcome to continue wearing masks at Mass if desired for personal protection and/or comfort.
- Individuals who have not been fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks while attending Mass. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask while receiving Holy Communion but may briefly remove the mask in order to consume the Sacred Host.
- Priests, Deacons and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are still required to wear a face mask during the Distribution of Holy Communion at this time – even if they have been fully vaccinated. This precautionary measure is due to the wide-ranging vaccination rates currently among the 11 counties that make up the Diocese of Scranton.
- Every parish MUST, without exception, post signage in any entrance areas stating that anyone who is not fully vaccinated is expected to wear a mask and anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should not enter.
- Parishes MUST, without exception, make an announcement at the beginning of Mass that anyone who is not fully vaccinated is expected to wear a mask.
- Pews no longer need to be marked for physical distancing. Parishes should remind the faithful to continue maximizing the use of space as much as possible.