We want to provide you an update on the current situation regarding the celebration of Sacraments in the Diocese of San José. It’s been very challenging for all Catholics not to come together to celebrate Masses and other sacraments in a normal way. But we all understand that the reason that we do this is because we care for one another, especially those most vulnerable to this dangerous virus.
We know that God is with us, but at the same time, we have to be careful and make sure that we protect each other in this challenging time. Although the buildings are closed, our parishes are open with livestream Masses and virtual ministry and outreach. We are also actively preparing for a return to in-person worship with physical distance and other safety modifications. The Diocese has been in conversation with public officials from the state and county on the importance of religion in peoples’ lives and on safety protocols for in-person worship. It is very encouraging that last week, the CDC released non-binding public health guidance for faith communities, and this week, the Governor released state guidance for religious services. Formal determinations of dates and gathering size for public worship have not yet been made in Santa Clara County. We look forward to working with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department to determine how and when to implement the guidance in this jurisdiction.
For the past few weeks, a Diocesan Taskforce has been developing a framework of guidance and protocols that balance the health and safety of all with the sacredness of our worship. Bishop Cantú and the taskforce made this framework available to parishes this week. Parishes are now working to implement the many adaptations, train their liturgical ministers, and have the necessary equipment required in anticipation for when the County Health Department lifts the current restrictions.
While we share the deep desire to bring people back to public Mass as quickly as possible, we need to coordinate with health officials to do so when it is safe and ensure our parishes are prepared for the physical distancing, face covering, and sanitization protocols necessary to minimize the spread of the virus. We will share more information as it becomes available.
Until the public Masses takes place again in our Diocese, our parishes will continue to livestream Masses and provide online ministry in response to the spiritual needs of their communities. Even after the public Masses resume, livestreaming and online ministry will continue for the high-risk parishioners, who will need to continue to stay home for their own safety.
We ask for your continued prayers, patience, understanding, and support during this extraordinary time.