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October 14, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Diocese of San Jose,

I am thankful to God that the pandemic conditions have improved such that our County has moved into the Orange Tier and our parishes and missions may begin celebrating Masses inside our churches soon. Although they may start as early as tomorrow, each parish will resume indoor Masses and sacraments as they are ready to do so safely.

While the current restrictions are eased and we are able to gather for Mass indoors again, it is important for all of us to understand that things will not immediately “go back to normal.” Our parishes will continue to abide by county and state public health orders by following capacity restrictions and mandating robust cleaning protocols, social distancing, and facial coverings. The liturgical protocols and adaptations used by our parishes for our outdoor Masses over the past three months will be used for indoor Masses. These include face covering requirements, six-foot physical distancing between households, no physical touching at the Sign of Peace, Communion only in the hand, careful traffic patterns for receiving Communion, entering and exiting the church space, and enhanced cleaning between Masses. One key difference between indoor and outdoor Masses will be that the public health order does not allow singing, chanting, and playing wind instruments indoors.

Our parishes continue to offer faith formation, sacramental preparation, and other ministries virtually when possible and in person when necessary, in accord with the guidance of public health officials.

Please note that parish Mass schedules may be different now than pre-COVID to accommodate cleaning and livestreaming needs. Anyone interested in attending Mass should contact their parish online or by phone for the current Mass times and other instructions.

To continue to protect the most vulnerable among us, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is still in effect. Parishes will continue to offer outdoor and livestream Masses wherever possible for parishioners who are vulnerable to COVID-19. I recognize that the last few months have been a most difficult time for all of us. I am grateful for your patience and prayers during this unprecedented moment in our history. We must all remain vigilant against the coronavirus pandemic and practice all the safety precautions to which we have become accustomed for the sake of the most vulnerable among us.

Let us move forward in hope and faith, taking all necessary precautions and safeguards to protect life in our community as we resume public worship within our churches. Let us continue to pray for all suffering from the pandemic and its aftermath.

Yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Oscar Cantú
Bishop of San Jose