St. Anne's Parish

Our Mission: To inform and educate through our lived faith at St. Anne.

COVID-19 Safety Precautions

The following precautions are a composite of those published by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and by the Office for Divine Worship of the Diocese of Worcester. They are intended for use in the first phase of lifting the suspension on public celebrations of the Sacred Liturgy, as announced by Bishop McManus on May 18, 2020.

Phase One of the Reopening

Restriction on the Size of Public Gatherings

In his order of May 18, 2020, Governor Baker mandated a strict limitation of forty percent of the building occupancy permit of any public gathering during the first phase of the reopening. This limit includes liturgical ministers, the faithful, and all support personnel.

Factoring in the seating restrictions required to maintain social distancing within and between pews (see below), the seating capacity of St. Anne's Church is limited to 110 people.

Continued Suspension of the Sunday Obligation

Because older adults and those with underlying health conditions continue to be advised to avoid public assemblies, the suspension of the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays will remain in force until December 31, 2020.

The Church Building

Holy Water

All standing Holy Water will be removed from all fonts.

Hymnals and Missalettes

Hymnals and Missalettes will be removed from the church and stored for possible future use.

Bulletins

The weekly bulletin will not be printed. They are, however, available electronically for download.

Marking the Floor

The floor will be marked with removable tape at six foot intervals approaching all communion stations and approaching all rest rooms.

Cleaning

Pew backs and surfaces in bathrooms will be disinfected after every Mass. Door handles and other surfaces will be disinfected daily.

People Arriving at Church

Masks and Social Distancing

All members of the congregation are required to wear a mask or other suitable face covering, except for children under the age of 2 or people who are unable to wear a mask because of a medical or disabling condition. For children between ages 2 and 5, the wearing of a face covering or mask is at the discretion of the child's parent or guardian.

Liturgical ministers are not masked, except during the distribution of Holy Communion.

All congregants must observe a minimum of a six-foot social distance.

Seating

Removable tape will be used to block off pews and maintain seating restrictions.

In order to promote social distancing, people should be seated at least six feet apart in a pew. Attendees who are not part of the same immediate household must be seated at least 6 feet apart. Members of the same immediate household are permitted to sit together less than 6 feet apart.

Ushers

Ushers will work with Mass attendees to:
  • Assure that everyone entering the church has a mask or other suitable face covering, except for reasons as noted above;
  • Direct those entering the Church to do so observing social distancing;
  • At the time for Distribution of Holy Communion, direct communicants to leave their pews one row at a time while observing the requisite social distancing. As each person leaves their pew, the usher will give them a squirt of hand sanitizer to sanitize their hands before receiving Holy Communion.

During Mass

Singing

For the time being, choirs will not be restored. The cantor and organist will lead the music. No congregational singing is allowed in these early days.

Collection

Instead of passing collection baskets, donation baskets will be placed at each of the entrances. Parishioners are encouraged to mail in their envelopes or sign up for online giving to avoid the risk of transmitting the coronavirus through the collection.

Offertory Procession

The Offertory Procession is suspended.

All Physical Contact Avoided

The invitation to exchange of the Sign of Peace and the shaking of hands with parishioners at the end of Mass are suspended.

Distribution of Holy Communion

Precious Blood

The distribution of the Precious Blood to all but the priests and deacons is suspended.

Receiving Holy Communion

For health safety reasons, the "public health preference" for receiving Holy Communion is in the hand.

Gloves must be removed when receiving Holy Communion by hand and may be put back on after consuming the Host. Communicants will receive the consecrated Host, step to the side, lower their mask, consume the Host, replace their mask, and return to their pew.

Ministers of Holy Communion

Priests, Deacons and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will be masked but not gloved. They will use hand sanitizer before and after the distribution of Holy Communion.

During the Distribution of Holy Communion

While the distribution of Holy Communion takes place in the usual manner, care will be taken to avoid all contact with the communicant. If the Minister of Holy Communion senses that they have touched a communicant, they will stop immediately to purify their fingers before returning to the distribution of Holy Communion.

Sacrament of Reconciliation

For the time being, Confessions will be heard in the Fr. Smith Center on Saturdays at 3:00 pm. We ask that you remain in the foyer area outside the hall, maintaining six feet of distance between yourself and others and again, please wear a mask.