Getting a seat at Christmas Mass may take a little advance planning this year, so make your plans early and check with your parish for details.
Parishes are finding creative ways to welcome as many people as possible on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day while continuing to comply with the Diocese’s capacity restrictions in churches.
The capacity limits are part of a wide range of precautions and safety protocols designed to make coming to Mass as safe as possible.
Some parishes have added extra Masses for Christmas, starting as early as 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve, after receiving permission for the early start this year from Bishop Alfred Schlert.
Others parishes are requiring the faithful to reserve a seat in advance so they can be sure not to go over the limit, which is 50 percent of a church’s seating capacity, so long as social distancing can be maintained.
Other ongoing safety precautions designed to limit the spread of disease include a requirement to wear masks and maintain distance from people not in your household.
There also are special protocols for the distribution of Holy Communion, and parishes adhere to strict guidelines for sanitizing the church after Masses. The guidelines have been reviewed by medical professionals, and the Diocese continues to consult about them periodically.
For those uncomfortable about attending in person, the requirement to attend Mass remains suspended in the Diocese. Anyone not feeling well, or who has a compromising health condition, should not attend.
If you cannot attend in person, you can pray along on your phone, tablet, laptop, or internet-ready television. Many parishes livestream their Masses on their Facebook page, or on their website. The Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena offers a livestream Mass Sundays at 10 a.m.