Some Catholic Mass may resume Thursday, May 21, said Bishop William Joensen of the Diocese of Des Moines in an email over the weekend, but not at parishes in Warren County.
Joensen said Wayne, Lucas, Clarke, Decatur, Madison, Union, Ringgold, Adair, Adams, Taylor, Cass, Montgomery, Page, Fremont and Harrison counties could resume masses Thursday, while parishes in Mills County will be permitted to regather for daily Mass beginning Monday, May 25, according to the email.
“Other counties, on account of the still rising or insufficiently diminished incident of contagion are NOT permitted to enter Phase 1 celebration of daily Mass at this time,” Joensen wrote.
Seven counties are forbidden from resuming Mass, including Warren, Polk and Dallas., Joensen said Mass will be allowed to resume in those counties when parishes “reach the point where risk has appropriately abated.”
Once Masses do resume, ministers and those attending Mass are encouraged to wear masks “except for the brief moment of receiving Holy Communion,” says a four-page list of liturgical guidelines included with Joensen’s email. “Parishes may require the use of masks. Ushers and other volunteers are required to make use of masks.”
The document also says that individuals who did not arrive in the same car must sit six feet apart and that doors should be propped open or held open by an usher or another device so that people don’t have to touch them. Offerings should not be collected, the guidelines state, but should be left in a common depository for people to drop off offerings as they arrive or leave. Money should not be counted for 48 to 72 hours, the document says.
After Mass, the guidelines state, “no one should shake hands, exchange hugs, or in any way make physical contact with each other.”