Diocese of Orange leaders, in close collaboration with clergy and public health officials, are preparing for a phased-in approached to reopening churches for public Masses beginning June 14.
“The bishops of California have been meeting by video conference each week to share ideas and best practices,” Auxiliary Bishop Tim Freyer said in a recent video message published on his social media accounts. “We’ve been looking at guidance from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on how to ensure when we come back we will be able to do so in a way that is safe.”
Bishop Freyer and Diocese leaders have also been meeting with the OC Health Care Agency to ensure churches are in compliance with county guidelines and mandates protecting public health.
When churches do reopen, parishioners can expect simpler Masses and changes to how communion is received. Other potential options include holding Masses in outdoor spaces, including school fields and parking lots.
“There will be a number of different changes,” he said.
Once Masses resume, clergy and parishioners will need to adhere to social-distancing guidelines and wear protective face masks. Additionally, all public areas, including doors and pews, will be thoroughly sanitized and disinfected before each Mass.
“We’re trying to make sure we open when it’s prudent and for the Common Good,” Bishop Freyer said. “We won’t necessarily delay our re-opening, but we want to make sure we do it in a way that allows us to stay open for many, many years. “
Watch Bishop Freyer’s video at: https://vimeo.com/419000116