Fresno Diocese says Catholic churches may fully reopen this weekend

Parishioners of the Diocese of Fresno will once again be able to fill the pews with some modifications this weekend.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Parishioners of the Diocese of Fresno will once again be able to fill the pews and resume most practices within the Catholic church with some modifications this weekend.

On Tuesday, as California lifted capacity limits and loosened masking rules for fully vaccinated people, Bishop Joseph Brennan announced that churches in the Fresno Diocese would open at 100% capacity starting Saturday, June 19.

In addition, the sign of peace can be given at Mass again, Bishop Brennan said. He encouraged those who live in different households to avoid physically shaking hands and instead offer the sign by bowing or a wave.

Congregational singing may also resume, and the diocese has given pastors the ability to "exercise their own good judgment" regarding whether musicians and choir members must wear masks while singing.

The diocese still "very much encourages" parishioners to wear face masks while indoors, Bishop Brennan said.

The Eucharist will continue to be distributed by hand, and those distributing communion will need to wear a mask. For now, parishioners will not be able to receive the Eucharist by the chalice.
Holy Water can once again be made available at the entrances of the church.

"We might still be in the woods. We might still be trying to navigate through these very difficult and troubled waters, and we will be, but some good things have happened," he said.

Bishop Brennan also encouraged sanitization of the pews after each service and having hand sanitizer available.

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