The following COVID-19 guidelines were compiled in consultation with the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Lake Charles and a board of advising physicians regarding the state of Louisiana operating under Phase 3. They are effective beginning on Friday, September 25, 2020.
Bishop Glen John Provost is asking pastors to continue their normal Mass schedules, where possible in the wake of Hurricane Laura, with 75% of the church capacity. Note: The faithful remain dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.
COVID-19 UPDATED DIRECTIVES FOR PHASE 3
1. The faithful of the Diocese (priests excluded) are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation until restrictions on the number of persons who may attend public liturgical services are lifted.
2. Pastors are to continue their regular schedule of parish Masses.
a. Where possible, Masses may be added to the schedule to accommodate more people.
3. Pastors are to make clear that the sick and those at risk should not attend.
4. A Mass specifically for the elderly in good health is recommended.
5. A total of 75% of the church's occupancy capacity may gather in the church.
a. This calculation includes the celebrant and assisting ministers (e.g. deacon, server).
b. Families and those living in the same dwelling are considered one unit (one person).
c. Available seats should be designated; seats may be assigned.
6. Those attending Mass should:
a. remain six feet apart (including during Communion distribution and departure).
b. wear face masks, except when receiving the Host.
7. The following are not permitted at Mass:
a. exchange of the sign of peace
b. Communion under both species
8. Containers for collections should not be touched by parishioners in pews.
9. Holy water fonts are to be emptied. Pastors may provide small bottles of holy water.
10. The Church (particularly areas touched by parishioners) is to be disinfected after each use.
11. It is strongly encouraged that Communion be distributed in the manner described below.
a. puts on a face mask.
b. washes his hands in a manner visible to congregants.
c. takes an edge of the Host.
d. touches the opposite edge of the Host to the communicant's hand.
e. releases the Host.
12. Two possible options to provide for those who would prefer to receive on the tongue:
a. Instruct those who would prefer to receive on the tongue to present themselves for Communion after those who receive on the hand.
b. Have (at least) two Communion lines, one for those receiving on the hand and another for those receiving on the tongue.
13. Holy Communion may be given to the homebound. In addition to the stipulations of number 8 above, every effort should be made to give Holy Communion outside (e.g. on a porch or patio).
14. Every consideration is to be given for the care of those who are isolated. The homebound, those who live alone, and those with pre-existing health conditions most especially deserve the concern and care of the Church. Pastors and Parochial Vicars are encouraged to telephone such persons and assure them of the Church's closeness to them.
15. Each pastor must begin planning for first Holy Communion and for reception into the Church of those individuals who were preparing for such before the suspension of public liturgies. All plans should, for the time being, utilize the guidelines contained herein.
16. The guidelines of March 20, 2020, regarding the Sacrament of Reconciliation remain in effect.
17. Baptisms, Confirmations, Funerals and Weddings may be conducted according to the norms contained herein.
For questions or clarifications, please consult the Dean of your respective Deanery.
• Central Deanery — Very Reverend Matthew Cormier, V.F.
• East Deanery — Very Reverend Keith Pellerin, V.F.
• South Deanery — Very Reverend Rojo A. Koonathan, V.F.
• West Deanery — Very Reverend Edward Richard, M.S., V.F.