Last week, the diocese issued updated guidance to churches throughout Brooklyn and Queens that lifts most of the remaining COVID restrictions introduced when churches were first re-opened in Summer of 2020.
We have reviewed the guidance and will be making the following changes at St. Charles Borromeo starting next Sunday, November 6:
- Masks will no longer be required at the 9 AM Mass – A main reason that we kept this restriction when we last updated our guidance this spring was that many young children who were not yet eligible to be vaccinated attend this Mass. Since then, a COVID vaccine was made available for children six months and older. We will now join others, including the New York City schools, in lifting the mask mandate. While masks will not longer be obligatory, some people may choose to wear masks and that is to be respected. The coronavirus pandemic is not over even if the threat is better understood and there are more vaccines and treatments available.
- Masks will no longer be required for Communion – Masks will still be available at the back of the church, but we will not have ushers stationed near the front of the communion line handing out masks.
- We will resume the offertory procession of gifts – We will resume having parishioners bring the bread and wine to the altar when the offertory gifts are presented. At the 9 AM Mass, this, like the offertory collection, has been traditionally handled by the children of the parish. At our other Masses, we invite the family requesting the Mass intention or other parishioners to bring up the gifts. If you are able to assist, please mention it to an usher before Mass.
- Holy Water fonts – We plan to resume filling the Holy Water fonts at the church entrances. The timing of this is not yet set since it depends on having sufficient volunteers to regularly clean and refill the fonts. In the interim, we remind you that the font in front of the altar dispenses Holy Water.
The diocese guidance does not allow for Holy Communion under both species, so we will continue our current practice of only offering the Precious Body (and not the Precious Blood) at communion.