Back-to-Mass Safety Guidelines

Returning to Mass at Immaculate Conception/ St. Jude Churches

We are glad to be able to open our two churches to welcome each other of the faithful
who hunger to once again to receive the sacraments. We must, however, extend this
hospitality to each other amidst much uncertainty and caution.
The following guidelines will be observed in our parish. They are drawn from the
mandates of the State of Maryland, the Diocese of Wilmington and the
recommendations of our Parish Pastoral Council.

Deciding to Return to Mass :
Individuals are the primary protectors of their own health and the health of others.
During this pandemic there is always a risk of coming into public spaces, even the
Church. Individuals assume that risk for themselves in these circumstances.
Those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to the virus within the past 14
days are not, according to local, state and national health directives, permitted to enter
the church. The safest thing to do is to choose to stay home, consult your healthcare
provider, and participate in Mass in other ways (e.g. via live streaming, spiritual
Those who are particularly vulnerable (e.g. over the age of 65, with existing heart or
lung conditions, diabetes, or otherwise immunocompromised) are encouraged, for their
own health, to avoid the risk of attending church until all restrictions have been lifted.
Using the simple questionnaire found on the parish website, prayerfully reflect on the
three questions posed. If you answer yes to any of the questions, please contact your
healthcare provider, inform those with whom you have been in close vicinity, and refrain
from coming to church.
Be sure that your child can stay in place for Mass, can keep a face mask on (age 3 or
over) for one hour, and does not wander but remains with you. If not, we strongly
suggest that they not attend Mass during these pandemic circumstances, to ensure the
safety of your family and those around you.
Bishop Malooly dispensed the Sunday Mass Obligations for Catholics in Delaware and
Maryland’s Eastern Shore on March 12 th , 2020. The dispensation remains in place for
all parishioners in the Diocese of Wilmington for the foreseeable future.
As we return to Mass, we recognize our duty as community members to follow the
guidelines and behaviors below for safety, both for ourselves and in charity for others,
as we worship together. We will post changes and updates by Flocknotes and website.
Please be sure to give us your permission and email address.
We are excited and looking forward to seeing you all again soon! ~Fr. Yeakel, OSFS

Arriving for Mass :
▪ Arrive 30 minutes before the start of Mass, with your entire family, so our ushers
can accurately distance households. We can not promise to seat those who
come once Mass has begun.
▪ A maximum of one-third of the church capacity is permitted in the church during
this time. If seating is at capacity, you may not be able to attend that particular
Mass. A handout, detailing alternatives, will be provided so you may still
experience Mass in some way.
▪ Wear masks before you enter the church (age 3 and over).
▪ Every family member attending Mass (aged 3 years and older) needs their own
mask. Any cloth covering of the nose and mouth (such as a scarf) is acceptable.
▪ Maintain 6’ social distancing at all times (outside and inside building). Understand
that these seating arrangements are not optional and are intended for your safety
and that of your fellow parishioners.

During the Mass:
❖ Wear masks throughout the Mass (age 3 and over) and maintain 6’ social
distancing at all times.
❖ Enjoy the cantor and accompanist, and for now we will refrain from
congregational singing.
❖ There will be no offertory procession for now; however, weekly offerings can be
deposited in the baskets as you leave church.
❖ Receive Holy Communion, for now, by hand only. If you are wearing gloves,
please remove them and lift your mask when receiving Communion. We will
refrain from receiving the Chalice for now.
❖ With strict requirements for cleaning and sanitizing all services, our restrooms
are not currently available for routine use.
❖ Between each mass, the surfaces in the church will be sanitized. This includes
wiping down each of the pews, door handles, and other areas.

Departing after Mass :
● An usher will dismiss you by pews. Leave through the door you entered.
● As you leave, maintain the 6’ distance and wear the mask until outside.