Churches in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will fully reopen next weekend, the archdiocese announced June 12.
In a letter to LA Catholics, Archbishop José H. Gomez announced that he would be lifting the dispensation to attend Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation on June 19, 2021. The dispensation will still be granted to those who are ill or have underlying health concerns.
“We continue to make significant progress in our fight against the pandemic in the three counties of the Archdiocese,” the archbishop wrote. “We can look forward to better days in which we can actively live our faith as the Body of Christ in our parish communities.”
Churches in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties had been closed to in-person worship since March of 2020, when COVID-19 restrictions began across the country. In December 2020, LA County officials lifted their ban on indoor religious services following a series of court cases that argued the pandemic restrictions were in violation of religious freedoms.
The Archdiocese also announced new liturgical guidelines, effective June 15, which replace the previous pandemic-related restrictions.
Notably, liturgical celebrations, including Mass, first communions, confirmations, weddings, baptisms, funerals, and quinceañeras, can now be held indoors, with no capacity limitations, social distancing requirements, or reservations. Parishes are also allowed to resume prayer group meetings and other social gatherings.
Following the CDC’s loosened guidelines on mask wearing, fully vaccinated people will no longer be required to wear masks for Mass and other liturgical celebrations. Masks are required for unvaccinated worshippers outdoors when social distancing is not possible, and at all times indoors. Parishes are not to verify who is and who is not vaccinated.
The guidelines also allow for the resumption of liturgical singing, but continue to restrict communion distribution to bread only.
“The coronavirus pandemic has affected our world… in ways we could never have imagined,” Archbishop Gomez wrote in his letter. “However… it brought us closer together as one family seeking the good and wellbeing of the other.
“We remain strong in our faith knowing that God will always be by our side.”
For a full list of guidelines, and more information, visit lacatholics.com/emergency.