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Bishop Malooly announces weddings, funerals, baptisms can resume at pastor’s discretion in adherence with safety precautions

Hand sanitizing was required at Church of the Holy Child on Naamans Road in Wilmington at the first Delaware Mass on June 1, 2020, held at the Diocese of Wilmington parish. Churches had been closed due to coronavirus since March 15. Dialog photo/Don Blake

The Diocese of Wilmington has issued guidelines for parishes to resume funerals, weddings and baptisms at the discretion of each pastor and in adherence with safety precautions in place at each church.

The diocese provided detailed guidance for celebrants and directives that have also been shared with funeral directors in Delaware and Maryland. Further guidance for Initiations, Sacrament of the Sick, and First Holy Communions will be forthcoming.

Weddings, funerals and baptisms have not been allowed in the diocese since Bishop Malooly in mid-March closed all churches to public Masses and services in an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Bishop Malooly has announced that parishes may resume weddings, baptisms and funerals provided attendance limitations, mask use, social distancing, sanitizing and all other precautions for the current phase of the coronavirus pandemic are followed. Individual pastors will provide specific guidance to families and couples as there are significant changes to these liturgies.

The diocese announced last month that Masses would resume in Maryland with social-distancing guidelines in place beginning May 25. Public Masses began again in Delaware with daily Mass June 1 and weekend Masses June 6-7 as the diocese has reopened churches in accordance with ease of restrictions aimed at limiting spread of coronavirus in the state.

Bishop Malooly on March 15 announced no public Masses would be held in the diocese and dispensed of the Sunday obligation to attend Mass in the effort to limit the spread of the disease. Regulations limiting large gatherings were adopted in both states and the dispensation was intended to conform to those guidelines. The Sunday dispensation remains until further notice.

The diocese wants churchgoers to maintain six feet of separation and wear masks among other precautions. People in at-risk categories and anyone feeling ill should continue to stay at home and pastors have been encouraged to continue livestreaming services, the bishop said.