BALTIMORE — The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced it will start Phase I of its reopening plan May 15 at 5 p.m.
It will allow churches to be open for private prayer and adoration. Parishes may offer the sacraments of reconciliation and baptism, and funeral and wedding Masses may be held with a limit of 10 attendees.
The start of Phase II was also announced for the weekend of May 30-31, when public Masses can begin at the pastor’s discretion and where it is permissible to do so based on conditions in the local jurisdiction.
In the archdiocese, Masses beginning the weekend of Pentecost May 31 will be allowed with one-third of the church’s capacity if held indoors.
Outdoor Masses have no limit on numbers in attendance but must adhere to physical distancing requirements. No in-car Masses will be permitted and parishioners must bring chairs or stand for outdoor Masses.
Worship guidelines for Phase I issued by the archdiocese May 12 will remain in effect.
Pastors will need to develop a process for distribution of Communion based on those guidelines, which include protocols for hand sanitizing by the priest or other Communion ministers, who will wear a facial covering.
The faithful will be required to wear a facial covering when coming forward to receive the Eucharist, lowering it just prior to the reception of the Eucharist, according to the guidelines.