Official Statement from Bishop Peter Christensen to Priests and Administrators.
Date: May 12, 2021
From: Bishop Peter Christensen
Re: UPDATE – REMOVAL OF COVID RESTRICTIONS
On May 11, Governor Little with the Department of Health and Welfare announced that Idaho has moved out of Stage Three into Stage Four of the Idaho Rebounds Guidelines. Therefore, today, in thanksgiving I am instructing our parishes to remove COVID-19-based restrictions as we continue to move toward pre-pandemic conditions. Specifically:
· There are no size limits at liturgies or other parish gatherings;
· While individuals may choose to wear masks, masks are not required in our parishes;
· Signs requiring the use of Masks should be removed from your parish facilities;
· Devices used to maintain six feet of distancing—ropes, tape, signs, and any other forms of barricades—should be removed from all parish spaces;
· Parishes should resume the use of missals, bulletins, collection baskets, and other items in their pews and common areas;
· Holy water fonts should be filled with blessed water;
· Ministries or activities of the laity that may have been discontinued during the pandemic (e.g., lectors, gift-bearers, altar servers, extraordinary ministers,etc.) are to be restored;
· The Sign of Peace may return to its pre-COVID practice;
· Any other measures you may have in place to accommodate these restrictions are encouraged to be discontinued at this time;
· Restrictions to receive solely on the hand are no longer in place;
· Beginning on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, priests are to resume the distribution of the Precious Blood to the faithful at the time of Communion;
· Also, beginning on Corpus Christi, I am discontinuing the dispensation of the obligation to attend Mass. As always, the faithful must use their own judgement regarding whether or not to attend Mass if they have any concerns regarding their health.
As we approach the Solemnity of Pentecost, we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Church—rejoicing in the love of God which, through the Holy Spirit, made us one people in the Body of Christ. This is a fitting time for our parishes to be restored this unity in the fullness of our liturgies: One people gathered in Christ, partaking fully in His Body and Blood.
Animated by the Holy Spirit, with faith in God’s goodness, may the Church in Idaho continue to thrive under your pastoral care. I am grateful for the care you have given the faithful under your leadership and I ask for your continued efforts and prayers for our Diocese, as we will soon return fully to our customary practices.