COVID-19 Guidelines at the Celebration of the Latin Mass

The celebration of the traditional Latin Mass is scheduled to recommence (barring any change to the current situation) on the first Sunday of July (the 5th) both at the Basilica in Lewiston and at the Cathedral chapel in Portland. The guidelines set in place do change things a bit and may cause inconvenience but they allow us to gather in as safe a manner possible for the celebration of the liturgy. All who attend will be expected to abide by all the guidelines set in place for the good and protection of all. If anyone is uncomfortable with any of these guidelines and do not wish to abide by them they should stay home.

Only 50 people (including the priest and server) are allowed to gather in any one place so not everyone who wishes will be able to attend. In order to make things as fair as possible people wishing to attend will have to register and reserve their place at the Mass following these procedures:

– In order to allow as many people as possible to attend, for now, people will only be able to register every other Sunday regardless of whether they attended at the Basilica or the Cathedral.

– Preference will first be given to those registered with the St. Gregory the Great Latin Mass Chaplaincy.

– Registration will be by internet. If you do not have a computer you may call Will Martin at (207) 333-2542.

– Everyone (except very young children) must wear a face mask at all times INSIDE THE CHURCH. The mask is to be lowered in order to receive communion and then replaced.

– You will only be able to enter the church a half hour before Mass begins. There will only be one door open to enter. At the Basilica one can use the main doors which will be open or the elevator. Only one person may ride the elevator at a time, unless this person needs assistance then there can be 2 people. At the cathedral the main chapel door at the back is to be used.

– Upon entering you will need to check in with the person at the door so you and those with you may be registered as present.

– When in any line, such as waiting for the bathroom or going to communion, maintain the 6 feet distancing. At the cathedral wait for the bathroom outside the double doors; do not gather in the little hallway directly outside the bathroom door. Access to the cathedral itself is completely closed off and people are not to go into the sacristy.

– You must maintain 6 feet (2 meters) distancing (the floors should be marked), and can only sit in the designated pews (these are marked with a white bow at the basilica). Large families may have to separate in different pews. No one is to sit in closed off areas nor move the cording closing off these pews.

– No collection will be held during the liturgy. Upon entering you will find the collection basket at the entrance of the church and you can drop your envelope in it as you enter.

– We are not allowed to have any papers or pamphlets in church so the red Mass books will not be available. If you have your own missal you may bring it to use but be warned if you forget it and leave it in church it will be thrown out.

– Communion will be distributed at the end of Mass after the Last Gospel. Some may remember this was often done in the old days at High Masses in order not to lengthen the Mass. It is being done in these times to mitigate movement in church and the chance of people crossing one another. People will approach using only the center aisle to receive and go back by the side aisle and then go directly out the door to your cars. There will only be 2 communion stations at the front. Follow the markings on the floor to maintain distancing and arrows for directions.

– People must leave immediately after the liturgy as no gatherings are allowed. Also we need to begin cleaning and sanitizing the Basilica as soon as Mass ends to prepare for the next Mass.

All these procedures will remain in place until further notice.

Thank you for your patience and co-operation. Remember the health and life you save may be your own!

Explanation of Contact Tracing in Maine Churches –
Provided by the Diocese

On Monday, June 1, the Diocese of Portland began allowing Maine churches to hold public Masses with restrictions and safeguards in place and no more than 50 people in attendance. To ensure that capacity is not exceeded, parishes are keeping track of attendance in a variety of ways, including sign-up sheets and online registration. This approach is similar to the record-keeping being requested for restaurants and hotels. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding the process.

Why is my contact information being collected?

The Diocese of Portland and Maine parishes will hold your personal contact information in the strictest confidence. Having your information helps parishes to be prepared should someone at a Mass later test positive for COVID-19. The State of Maine’s “COVID-19 Prevention Checklist” for Religious Gatherings (released by the Department of Economic and Community Development on May 22) requests that “For public health purposes, faith-based organizations should maintain a list of all attendees and visitors to its services and activities, if possible. If a place of worship learns that an attendee or worker has tested positive for COVID-19, they should promptly notify Maine DHHS, CDC, or a local public health official and assist all such officials as reasonably requested to trace likely contacts and advise contacts to isolate and self-quarantine.” By signing up to attend a Mass, you authorize your parish to share your contact information (name, phone number, and email address) with public health authorities in the event that it
is specifically requested.

How long will these records be kept?

Your personal contact information will be held with great discretion for 21 days to share with public health authorities only when necessary. After 21 days, the electronic records will be deleted and paper records shredded.

Who will have access to my information for the 21 days?

Only a designated parish staff member (the pastor, cluster business coordinator, pastoral life coordinator, or another staff member specifically authorized by one of the above) will release the necessary contact information.

What will happen if someone who attended Mass tests positive?

If parish staff becomes aware first, the designated parish staff member will contact the Maine CDC to ask how the parish might cooperate in any necessary contact tracing procedures. If public health officials contact parish staff first, only the designated parish staff member will have the authority to disclose the names and contact information of people who attended a particular Mass.