'Faith Forward' plan aims to gradually reopen New York's houses of worship

Under the state’s regulations, all services are limited to 10 people, but the Archdiocese of New York unveiled its own gradual plan to reopen religious services.

News 12 Staff

May 21, 2020, 11:21 AM

Updated 1,465 days ago

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Houses of worship reopened on Thursday in New York after 10 weeks of being closed, but church services won't be returning to normal anytime soon.
Under the state’s regulations, all services are limited to 10 people, but the Archdiocese of New York unveiled its own gradual plan to reopen religious services.
The “Faith Forward” plan is a five-phase strategy. It starts with opening for private prayer and confessions, then limited baptism and marriages, followed by weekday communions without Mass, then limited weekday Mass and funerals, and finally Sunday Mass limited to 25% attendance.
The goal is to resume full church services once the pandemic ends. 
"The steps will be implemented region by region, parish by parish,” Reverend Monsignor Joseph P. LaMorte – Vicar General of the Archdiocese of New York and head of reopening task force. He says the plan will be adapted to meet the circumstances of each parish.
Other changes include:
  • Removing holy water bowls and worship books
  • Having masks available for parishioners
  • Markers for social distancing
  • Weekly COVID-19 testing for priests
"We think these steps are sensible, achievable, in line with the guidance that we see from health care experts," says the monsignor.
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