PITTSBURGH — Officials with the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced Tuesday that masks will no longer be required in parishes starting Saturday, Feb. 26.
The changes will also go into effect for elementary and high schools starting Monday, Feb. 28.
Leaders in the diocese said in a news release the number of new COVID-19 cases has been steadily dropping around the area, and in diocesan parishes and schools.
“We thank God that local infections have dropped and pray that our anticipated adjustments will be the first of many steps toward resuming ways of worship and learning that we have all missed so much,” Bishop David Zubik said in the release.
Here are the new changes from the diocese going into effect for parishes on Sat., Feb. 26:
- Priests, deacons and liturgical ministers in the sanctuary as well as ushers and greeters will no longer be obligated to wear masks at Mass.
- Parishioners will again be invited to share the Sign of Peace.
- Laity can present the gifts of bread and wine used for consecration.
- The distribution of Precious Blood from the cup remains suspended at this time.
- All parish events outside of Mass may be held in-person. Livestream options for Mass and activities will continue for those who are unable to attend in-person.
While masking will no longer be required in schools, it will remain in place for people on school buses as this is required by federal law. Masks will also be required for anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for five days after their return to work or school.
Anyone who is sick, feels at risk, is a primary caregiver, or has serious anxiety about being part of a large group at this time is still excused from the obligation to attend Mass.
Bishop Zubik joins Pope Francis in urging everyone eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
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