As we return to a new norm as COVID-19 calms down, measures for attending church services have been announced. These will come into effect from 13th June, according to the Archdiocese of Malta. Here is a basic guideline of what you need to do (or not do) before, during and after the service.
1. Think ahead! It is advised to head to church early to avoid clusters of people on the church parvis.
2. Only the main entrances of churches will be open so that temperature of church-goers can be taken. If a person records a temperature of more than 37.2⁰C, they won’t be allowed to enter. So if you walk to church on a hot day, you might need to sit in the shade for a while until you cool off.
3. Each church will have an assigned maximum number allowed inside, depending on the size of the church. Preferably though, mass is held outside.
4. There will be no dipping of fingers in the holy water basin, because that’s going to be empty for the time being.
During the celebration
1. Sanitise your hands and wear a mask or visor throughout the duration of the celebration. Avoiding physical contact with other people and keeping a social distance of two metres are of the utmost importance.
2. If you spot your friend who you haven’t seen in a while, unfortunately you cannot sit next to him/her as ushers will assign you a seat accordingly. Obviously, persons from the same household can sit near each other.
3. Hymnal books, papers and any other form of leaflets are to be removed and mass celebration information should be given in alternative ways.
4. Holy Communion procedure: stand up and remain in your assigned row, as simple as that. The priest will come over and administer communion but you cannot say ‘Amen.’ Holy Communion will also only be given in your hands. ‘Amen’ can only be said once when the priest says “The Body of Christ” and the entire church responds ‘Amen.’
5. Offerings and donations aren’t allowed. If anyone wishes to leave the church a donation, there will be indicated spots.
1. Use the side doors to exit.
2. You won’t be able to chat to the priest on the church parvis after – even if you know him. Exit the church and disperse!
You can read the entire measures document here.