Message from Archbishop Blair

Below is a statement from Archbishop Blair…….​Archbishop Leonard P. Blair
has directed that:• Effective immediately and through Sunday, March 29, the
Archbishop has dispensed from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass each and
every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Hartford. This dispensation is offered with
the understanding that some will still wish to attend Mass, while others may be
less willing out of fear for their own health or the health of others. That is a
decision left to the individual, but with the caution that all the precautions
of hygiene and social distancing should be followed, and that if someone is ill
or having symptoms, out of charity they should not go to church. However, to
repeat, through March 29 all Catholics of the Archdiocese of Hartford are
dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.o That public Masses can
continue to be celebrated is in keeping with what Pope Francis has urged,
“that the Holy Spirit give pastors the capacity for pastoral discernment, so
they find measures that don’t leave the holy faithful people of God alone, so
the people of God feel accompanied by their pastors and draw comfort from the
Word of God, the sacraments, and prayer.” o It is also in keeping with
Governor Ned Lamont’s Executive Order of yesterday, which prohibits gatherings
of 250 people or more throughout the State through the end of April but makes an
exemption for worship services. However, local authorities may ask parishes to
consider temporarily suspending the public celebration of Mass. Pastors will be
required to follow any ordinances or mandates published by legitimate local
authorities, who have been entrusted to protect the community at large. o If any
future ban on public assemblies necessitates the suspension of public Mass,
Pastors should see that all Mass intentions are fulfilled, and all priests would
be expected to celebrate private Mass daily.• All Confirmation liturgies
scheduled to take place before Easter are now postponed to a future date to be
determined as the situation unfolds.• Daily Masses, Eucharistic adoration or
other liturgies that are celebrated in a more confined space in small chapels
should be moved to the larger church building so that participants can maintain
a safer, healthier distance from one another.• In a larger church people
should be encouraged to spread out to maintain a greater distance from one
another and to choose one of the more sparsely attended Masses.• Confessionals
should be equipped with screens that protect, and a safe distance should be
maintained, especially between priest and penitent for those who go
face-to-face.• Priests have the duty to minister to the sick and to administer
the sacraments to the dying, but they are also obliged to protect their health
by following all the directives of health professionals in approaching anyone
who is ill. Elderly priests in particular should be especially careful, given
the severe toll of the coronavirus on the aged.These measures are in addition to
the precautionary measures enacted by Archbishop Blair in a statement from March
3, which are as follows:• The sign of peace should be exchanged without
physical contact like hand-shaking; or else the call to exchange a sign of peace
should simply be omitted.• The distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful
via the chalice should be suspended; concelebrants and assisting deacons should
receive only by intinction.• Communion on the tongue should be strongly
discouraged.• There should be minimal handling of collection baskets, by
ushers only.• Holy Water fonts should be emptied.• Priests, deacons, and
extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are urged to practice good hygiene,
washing their hands before Mass begins or even using an alcohol-based
anti-bacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion.​