Monaco breaks out of containment, churches adopt new rules

This Monday, May 4, the Monegasques are unconfined. Churches and chapels are also reopening. Eucharistic celebrations can resume, as well as baptisms, marriages and burials. The directives in the Principality are not those of France, where religious gatherings will not be authorized on the date of deconfinement, May 11.

→ LIVE. Coronavirus: the latest news in France and worldwide on May 4

By virtue of which, the exercise of worship in Monaco is precisely defined by a press release from the very young Archbishop Mgr Dominique-Marie David, installed in his office on January 21, 2020.

Open churches

The provisions apply from Monday, May 4, with maximum precautions. The Archbishop even extends the ” general exemption from attendance at Sunday mass and on precept days “Which is maintained” so that the most vulnerable are encouraged to remain cautious. So that the faithful can stay in touch, Sunday Mass will continue to be broadcast on social networks and on the Monaco Info television channel on Sunday.

In the various churches and chapels, the wearing of the mask becomes compulsory for the faithful and the staff as soon as they enter the buildings, stipulates the diocese press release. ” Signage placed at the entrance recalls barrier gestures and mentions the number of worshipers authorized inside “, It is specified. Church by church, this number is determined taking as a base a maximum of one person per 4 m2 and respecting a sanitary distance of 1.5 m.

One hundred places in the cathedral

Thus a hundred places are planned for the cathedral, while it is planned, for example, only 50 places in the Saint-Martin church or only 25 places in the chapel of the Sacred Heart. However, the number of services has been multiplied, to allow a maximum of faithful to attend masses at different times of the day; all week long.

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→ INVESTIGATION. Initiatives to live your faith until June 2

The provisions are precise and could serve as a basis for French buildings which have just three weeks to prepare for the first rallies after June 2. Thus, a distributor of hydroalcoholic product is available at the entrance of each church while the holy water fonts remain empty. Circulation in churches is also regulated: ” Depending on the different places, and as far as possible, a separate entrance and exit are materialized and a traffic flow set up – in particular for the movement of communion – to prevent people from crossing paths.

Celebrations under surveillance

No mass book will be made available to the faithful during the celebration, only photocopied sheets for single use may be offered. ” The same microphone can only be used by the same person during the celebration, the proclamation of the readings and the intentions of prayers being ensured by the only celebrant or, if there is another priest, a deacon or a reader “, Specifies the archbishopric.

The gesture of peace will not be offered and the instructions for communion are strict: ” Priests or deacons wash their hands – before and after – with hydroalcoholic gel. They are recommended to wear a mask, and the faithful are invited to receive communion in the hand, while the concelebrants commune by extinction or with other chalices.

If the measures recommended by the Archbishopric of Monaco are common sense and obvious health precautions, they have the merit of being particularly concrete, constituting a kind of “deconfinement test”. It remains to be hoped that this precise and binding protocol in no way alters the fervor of the Monegasque faithful who can once again celebrate in their found church.

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