Denver Newsroom, Dec 30, 2021 / 11:56 am (CNA).
The Archdiocese of Baltimore has declared new COVID-19 protocols in response to a rising number of positive cases of the virus.
“Now more than ever, it is important we remember to care for our health and safety and of those around us,” said Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.
All Catholics aged five and older are now required to wear a mask inside of churches in Baltimore County and Howard County, including clergy and liturgical ministers.
The archdiocese has also encouraged parishes to evaluate which ministries and non-liturgical parish activities could be held virtually or with limited contact. Catholics gathering for in-person ministry activities are now required to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
The new protocols encourage proper hand sanitization following the distribution of communion on the tongue.
Parishes are still able to offer holy water, though hand sanitizing dispensers will be available next to all holy water fonts and entrances.
The new protocols will be in place until at least Jan. 31. The protocols were announced a few days after Baltimore County was placed under a state of emergency because of the recent spike in COVID-19 infections.
“In times of trial, especially long struggles, we see just how resilient we are,” Archbishop Lori said. “Hopefully, the pandemic has reminded us of our need for God’s grace and our need for each other.”
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