COVID-19 Restrictions - Changes this weekend (5/29-30) and next (6/5-6).
This week, Governor Phil Murphy announced sweeping changes to the COVID-19 restrictions as a result of the declining infection rates and rising percentage of people being vaccinated. In conjunction, the Diocese of Trenton released changes to be made for worship and other church-related activities.
The updates regarding the celebration of Mass is as follows:
- Pastors should devise a liturgical schedule appropriate for parish’s needs at this time.
- All doors may be utilized for entrance and exit of church.
- Barriers, tape, cords to maintain social distancing may be removed.
- Sanitizing of pews and other furnishing after each Mass may be discontinued
- Hand sanitizers should continue to be made available.
- Restrooms may be restored to full use.
- Blessed Water may be placed in fonts.
- Missals and hymnals may be placed in pew book racks.
- Bulletins, worship aids etc. may be distributed.
- The continued use of livestreaming is encouraged for the benefit of the homebound
CELEBRATION OF MASS
- “Parking Lot Masses” and “In Car” reception of the Eucharist” should be discontinued.
- Pastors are encouraged to invite liturgical ministers to resume their ministry.
- All ministers of Holy Communion should wear masks while distributing the Holy Eucharist.
- Receiving Holy Communion in the hand continues to be strongly encouraged although Holy Communion may be received on the tongue as well.
- The procession for Holy Communion is strongly encouraged at the usual time at Mass.
- The usual procession of ministers to and from sanctuary may resume.
- Music Ministers may return to their usual ministry.
- The collection may be taken up as in the past.
- The presentation of the gifts by the faithful may resume.
- The use of separate chalices for concelebrants and deacons is encouraged for the time being.
- Sharing chalices for the faithful is not permitted at this time. Holy Communion is to be distributed by the sacred host only.
- The Sign of Peace may resume.
- Greeting people at the church door may resume.
- Washing the sacred vessels with warm water and soap after each Mass should continue.
- Masks and social distancing requirements are lifted except as noted above on Friday 5/28 and these revisions to pandemic protocols as well as full occupancy of churches are to be implemented on Friday 6/4. The dispensation from Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligation is lifted except as noted above on 6/5.
Approved by Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M.
Bishop of Trenton
May 26, 2021
Feast of St. Philip Neri
Implementation at Visitation
As there are a number of rather extensive changes, we are making every effort to minimize confusion and also to avoid surprising anyone without prior warning. So we will be implementing this in a two-phased weekend approach:
This weekend (5/29-30):
We will have social distancing in the main worship space and parish hall. The pews will be roped off for this last weekend
We will use the Reservation system for this last week in order to honor the reservations that had already been placed.
Facemasks will not be required; however, if anyone is still uncomfortable with not wearing a facemask they are certainly welcome to continue wearing them - during Communion, the ministers distributing the Eucharist will be wearing their masks
Live-streaming will be available both remotely and in the parish hall and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs) will distribute Communion in the parish hall
For one last time, Outdoor Communion will take place from 10-15AM, following the 9AM Mass
The audio for the Mass will be available via radio reception in the parking lot at 107.7FM
Next weekend (6/5-6):
Social distancing will not be observed.
All pews will be available and no reservations will be taken
For those who still wish to use social distancing, the parish hall will have livestream and EMHCs will distribute Communion
Outdoor Communion will be discontinued
Livestreaming of the Mass for the benefit of the homebound and those unable to join us due to illness, infirmity or distance will continue to be offered on the parish YouTube channel at (
The dispensation from the obligation of attending Sunday and holyday Mass will end except for the cases noted in last week's Flocknotes posting (
We will have Exposition, Procession and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament around the church (weather permitting) following the 11AM Mass on 6/6
This is not an exhaustive list of the changes, but hopefully it will provide some guidance as to what to expect this weekend and next as we transition from the restrictions to our next phase. In all cases, we are trying to balance moving forward while safeguarding as much as possible the health and well-being of all who enter the doors of Visitation Church.
Please continue to hold in prayer those who are struggling with anxiety at this time, those who find themselves torn or uncertain as to how to express their faith, for those who have been impacted by the events of the last 14 months and for all of us as we continue our journey of faith.
A review of our Mass and sacramental schedule for this weekend:
Saturday 5/29 HOLY TRINITY
in the Rectory Chapel
a congregation, in-church Communion during Mass (
outdoor Communion afterwards)
- Mass Live streamed
a congregation. Outdoor Communion will be available afterwards and radio reception available in the parking lot at 107.7FM.
Please note that outdoor Communion will end
a congregation, in-church Communion during Mass (
outdoor Communion afterwards) PLEASE NOTE: While making a reservation is
required, we are encouraging people to do so; this way you can be assured of having a seat. We have noticed that in-church attendance is steadily increasing and, in anticipation that we may reach capacity at weekend Masses, we have prepared the Church Hall for social distancing and live-streaming the Mass from upstairs. When needed, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will bring the Blessed Sacrament so that people in the Church Hall can receive Communion during Mass.
o access TAKE YOUR PLACE AT TABLE and/or to volunteer to help our Liturgical Environment Ministry in parking, seating or cleaning, please visit our parish website at
Those without Internet access (and please let your friends and neighbors know!) can call
Sunday 9AM Live-stream Mass
Not yet ready to return to the church building?
WE UNDERSTAND and will continue to offer live streamed Mass on Sundays at 9AM with outdoor Communion available in the church parking lot. See this weekend's Mass on YouTube at
Fr. Ed Blanchett
on Friday, May 28 at 3:00PM