Over the past month the number of people in California who have been infected with COVID-19 has dramatically declined. As of press time, the number of cases has dropped from 60,000 to 10,000 in one month. Hospitalizations are down almost 30 percent in the last two weeks, and ICU admissions are down 21.5 percent.
While we all must remain vigilant in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 (continuing to wear masks and keeping our distance from one another), Bishop Kevin Vann – aware of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions rendered late on the evening of Feb. 5 concerning indoor worship – is permitting a partial resumption of indoor worship in our diocese.
Indoor worship is now allowed, providing that the number of those present does not exceed 25 percent of the church’s capacity and that seating adheres to physical-distancing requirements. This applies to weekday Masses as well as Sunday Masses. The decision to celebrate Mass indoors, or to continue with Masses outside, is up to the pastor at each parish.
Weddings, funerals and baptisms may also resume indoors, with the same capacity restrictions and at the discretion of the parish pastor.
Limitations on music remain in place and parishes are to avoid the use of choirs inside the church.
Stations of the Cross and other devotions may be held inside the church, providing that attendance is at 25 percent of capacity or less.
In moving Masses indoors, the Diocese of Orange remains fully in conformity with the law as interpreted by the Supreme Court of the United States.