On May 27, 2020 the Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, Bishop of Norwich, released the Parish Reopening Guidelines to the Pastors of the Diocese.
The guidelines were developed to assist Pastors and parish administrators in facilitating the resumption of public worship. These standards are drawn from a variety of sources and were developed in consultation with the Pastors of the Diocese.
Safety and Shared Responsibility
The primary goal in issuing these standards is to provide necessary guidance rooted both in sound liturgical principles as well as to keep everyone, faithful and clergy, as safe as reasonably possible given the requirements of the present circumstances. Based on the principle of shared responsibility they seek to balance the expectations on the part of the parish with those that can be reasonably expected of the faithful who choose to attend Mass.
A Phased Approach
Churches that can fully implement the guidelines may resume the public celebration of weekday Masses ONLY beginning Monday, June 8, 2020. The celebration of public Masses on Saturday evening and Sunday continues to be suspended until further notice.
Please note: the limitation on gatherings for religious worship of less than 50 people established by Governor Ned Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7D (3/16/20) and as amended by Executive Order No. 7N (3/26/20) remains in effect.
Sunday Obligation Remains Dispensed
The obligation to attend Sunday Mass will remain dispensed for all the faithful in the Diocese of Norwich until further notice. Parishes are being encouraged to continue with live-streaming liturgies for those faithful who cannot or may not feel comfortable attending in person. The elderly, those in vulnerable populations or with underlying health conditions, and those experiencing any symptoms of illness are asked to follow the most up to date health regulations and guidelines and remain home.
Bishop Cote thanks the priests, deacons and lay faithful for their patience, understanding and cooperation as we implement this gradual return to the public celebration of Mass.
Please consult your local parish websites, bulletins, and social media often for the most up-to-date information as we slowly move to resume public worship.