The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has released a set of directives for re-opening the churches of the diocese (obviously including Holy Cross). The information is attached here.
I’m going to recommend that you tune in to a recorded edition of a webinar hosted by our Office for Divine Worship here, for a very fine presentation of the details in the document. Or just check it out right below.
You can be forewarned: the webinar session is about 90 minutes long; but you can view it in pieces obviously as you have the time, or fast-forward through the bits you already have in hand.
An Important Clarification
Our first impressions regarding the limit on the maximum number of people who can gather is wrong!
The document attached below here indicates that the maximum number of people who can assemble must be no more than 50% of total occupancy (see the top of page 4 of the document). A link to this document is included on this Commonwealth of Pennsylvania web site, under the heading of Work and Congregate Settings Restrictions in the Yellow Phase — most of the way to the bottom of the web page. Click on the link that says “Follow Business and Building Safety Orders”.
The total occupancy of our church is 550 people; one-half of that is 275.
Don’t get your hopes up too high, though. In order to meet the standards for social distancing, we have cordoned off every other pew in church. This leaves 15 pairs of pews available (15 pews on the BVM side; 15 pews on the St. Joseph side). It’s hard to imagine accommodating any more than three individuals in each pew (family groups count as a single individual) while maintaining the standard for social-distancing (one person in the middle, and one at each end). This means that our new allowable limit in the “Yellow Phase” is 90 people.
Things are changing fast around us, and the rules for how to deal with the changes are changing, also. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you to pay very careful attention to new information coming from reliable sources in order to stay connected.
I hope you’ll pass this word around (maybe simply by forwarding the whole email) as broadly as you can. Make sure you don’t miss anyone.
I’ll see you soon. How ’bout that!