SAN ANGELO, TX -- As Covid-19 cases continue to remain consistently low in Tom Green County, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Angelo has announced it will be relaxing the current protocols.
On Friday, the diocese announced it will be moving to Phase Two beginning May 8, 2021.
The changes will impact the following areas:
- Facemasks for attendees are not mandated but are strongly encouraged.
- Every pew may now be used.
- The social distance requirement of six feet is now reduced to three feet.
"May the Holy Spirit help us to revive our participation in the sacraments and to reengage people in active parish life," said Bishop Michael Sis. "I am sincerely grateful to all who have been helping in the implementation of our coronavirus protocols, especially our priests, deacons, and other parish leaders."
As San Angelo churches transition to Phase Two, the diocese is encouraging parishes to offer at least one opportunity for people to attend Mass on Sundays or holy days of obligation with adherence to Phase One Protocols. This will accommodate those who are uncomfortable with or leery of the more relaxed Phase Two Protocols.
Some of the options to accommodate for Phase One include:
- Celebrate a separate liturgy that has full Phase One Protocols in place.
- Reserve an appropriate section within the church or parish facilities that will practice Phase One Protocols.
- Designate one of the churches or missions in a cluster to use full Phase One Protocols while the others have relaxed protocols.
- Utilize any other appropriate manner to accommodate those individuals who are not comfortable with the Phase Two Protocols.
As a reminder Catholics in the Diocese of San Angelo are dispensed from the holy days of obligation only if they:
- are age 65 or over, or
- are caring for the sick, or
- are sick, including those who have tested positive for the coronavirus and those who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus, regardless of how well they feel, or
- have underlying health conditions, or
- are truly and sincerely fearful that they may contract the coronavirus. A true and sincere fear is one that has prevented a person from attending non-required activities, such as eating at a restaurant, gatherings with family and friends, attending a movie theater, etc.
The general dispensation from attending Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation expires on the weekend of Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2021.