COVID-19: This is how funeral masses will take place

The Archbishop's Curia issues directives regarding funeral masses, which can start being held from today after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

Funeral masses can start being held but strict guidelines have been issued by the Curia to minimise the risk of virus spread
Funeral masses can start being held but strict guidelines have been issued by the Curia to minimise the risk of virus spread

Funeral masses can start being held from today after health restrictions were lifted, although these will be limited to open-air celebrations inside cemeteries or on the church parvis if this is big enough.

On Friday the Curia issued a set of directives that will be effective immediately. The directives were agreed upon between the bishops and the health authorities.

The Curia said the directives were intended to protect the health of persons attending the mass while also allowing churchgoers to give a dignified sendoff to their beloved.

The guidelines apply to funeral masses since restrictions on other church celebrations remain in force.

Funeral mass guidelines:

  • The mass will be held in open cemeteries and in certain cases were churches are large enough on the parvis.
  • The churches allowed to hold masses inside must be 500sq.m or larger, and only allow 20 people to enter at one given time.
  • In the current climate, the preference is for mass’s to be held outside.
  • The area where funeral masses are taking place must have signage which indicates where people can sit during the mass.
  • All persons must be wearing a mask or visor, as well as having their temperature taken using a thermometer that does not require contact. Persons must then use hand sanitiser which will be available.
  • Persons with fever or who do not cooperate will not be allowed to enter.
  • There will be no physical contact with other persons at any time, not even during the blessing.  
  • For communion, people will be asked to stay put and be approached by the priest who will be wearing a mask or visor; he will sanitise his hands before and after.  
  • The statement of faith will only be made once from the alter.
  • At the end of the mass, persons must leave in an orderly fashion and maintain social distancing.
  • After mass disinfestation of benches and chairs will take place.

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