What to Expect When We Reopen
Throughout the past few months, I have missed seeing you all in church, but I have prayed that you and your families have been healthy, safe, and well.
Our staff has been busy preparing for when we are able to reopen for public Masses. As of the time of this letter, Baltimore City is still under a stay-at-home order. This means that we are open for private prayer and Confession, though we are still holding Masses without public attendance. We hope that we may be able to host public Masses soon, so we want to share some important procedures and resources to prepare you.
When Baltimore City lifts its stay-at-home order, this is what you can expect:
What do I need to do before I come to Cathedral?
- Take your temperature. Please do not come if you have a fever or feel sick in any way.
- Wear a mask. Masks are mandatory for all entering the Cathedral during this time, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- We encourage you to download myParish app and/or bring a Magnificat to follow along, if preferred. Worship aids are published here and in myParish app weekly, and will continue to be uploaded there. There will not be hymnals or worship aids in the pews, to limit contact between attendees.
- Please use the restroom, to limit the amount of people using the restrooms at Cathedral.
- If you are a Liturgical Minister, we will be looking for assistance - please check your email or contact Fr. Kevin if you are comfortable serving during this time.
What will Mass be like?
- Please enter through the narthex (back of the church as you face the altar). When you arrive, an usher will be at the door to explain seating and count the number of people inside the church.
- We have a map (subject to change) developed to show where seating will be permitted (in green). Pews not available for seating will be marked with signage accordingly.
- You will be able to sit with others in your household, but no one from separate households will be permitted to sit in your pew. Please be kind and listen to the ushers.
- There will be no congregational singing, as singing expels more particles and causes a higher risk of spread of coronavirus.
- There will be no sign of peace.
- Communion will be distributed at the end of Mass, so that attendees may receive and then exit afterwards. Only the consecrated host will be distributed at Holy Communion and not the common cup.
- Ushers will guide you to Communion when it is time - it is a new pattern, so please be patient. There will be four tables set up - one in each corner of the Cathedral (one by the leftmost front pew, one by the rightmost front pew, one by the leftmost back pew, and one by the rightmost back pew).
- When you approach the table, you will stay on one side of the table to receive, and the Eucharistic Minister (EM) or clergy will be on the other side. It is discouraged to receive Communion on the tongue.
- The minister will keep their mask on the entire time. The communicant will pull down their mask, extend their hands fully and open flat, say “amen,” consume, and move to the door to exit. If you are receiving a blessing, you will keep your mask on as you receive the blessing at the table, then proceed to the exit.
- If the EM/clergy feels that they have touched another person, the protocol is for the EM to put down the ciborium, use hand sanitizer (which will be on each table), wait 30 seconds, then continue.
What are the cleaning procedures like?
- Our excellent cleaning company will clean the church (pews, areas where staff were, etc.) after every Mass. By distributing Communion at the end of Mass and not singing, the length of Mass will decrease, allowing for more time to clean in between Masses.
- If you’re coming for private prayer, please take one of the wipes (on tables at the entrance to every chapel, as well as near doors) and wipe down the pew before and after praying.
- The church is also cleaned every evening by our cleaning company.
- Hand sanitizer will be at every available entrance and exit.
Will you still livestream Mass?
- We will still be livestreaming all of our Masses. We have livestreamed our Masses for over three years, and we will certainly continue! If you don’t feel comfortable coming in person yet for Mass, don’t fret - Archbishop Lori has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass, and we’d love to have you join us online for Mass. Learn more here.
Will the Parish Center be open?
- The Parish Center will be closed for the summer, but our Pastoral Staff is still working remotely. If you would have normally come into the Parish Center to ask a question, please email [email protected] or call 410-464-4000 and leave a voicemail. We will respond to your call or email promptly.
I’d also encourage you to watch this video from the Archdiocese about what to expect:
In our recent parish survey, 38% of comments included concern about others coming to Cathedral when sick or not following the guidelines. Please do not come to Cathedral if you are not well, are not comfortable, or are not able to follow the protocols above. We greatly appreciate your efforts to keep our parish family safe during this time.
The best way to stay in touch with us is via this email list, as well as our website (see our response page here, frequently updated). If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Monsignor Woy, Fr. Kevin, and the Cathedral staff