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Maintaining a List for Mass and Funerals

June 17, 2020

Directive concerning a list for notification for those attending Sunday Masses and Funerals

Thus far, the reopening of parishes for Sunday Masses has been very successful in the Archdiocese of Boston. Each week, more parishes open, and the numbers at Mass climb, albeit slowly. Pastors report that people in large measure are feeling safe, and that it is possible, although difficult, to have reverent and engaging liturgies with the current restrictions. There are significant challenges ahead, but we should be pleased with our progress.

  • Given our recent experience of a parish which had to close for several weeks because of the COVID diagnosis of a Mass attendee after he had attended the Mass and the subsequent need to let other attendees know, the following directive is in place from the weekend of June 20/21 forward:
  • Every person who attends a Sunday Mass or Funeral at your parish should be given the opportunity to put their name and contact information on a list to be notified if there is a positive COVID test of a person who also attended that Mass.
  • In some cases, a parish will already have a list of some of the attendees because of a registration system they are using, but all attendees should have the opportunity to add their name to a contact list even if they are not on a registration list.
  • Additionally, since an announcement should be made to this effect during the Mass, attendees should have the opportunity to add their name to the list by calling or emailing contact information to the parish office.
  • Since some attendees may choose not to add their names to the contact list for a variety of reasons, the announcement should also include the provision that any information about a such a case will be posted on the parish website, and that parishioners should check the website regularly.

Note that this information will not include the name of the person who tested positive, which will be kept confidential, but only the Mass which they attended and any other relevant non-personal information.

If a parish learns about such a situation, they should immediately notify their local board of health and the Risk Management office of the Archdiocese of Boston through the COVID 19 hotline, 617-746-5750, or via email at corona@rcab.org.

The same directive applies to funerals, although in the case of the funeral it may be that the funeral director can manage the process.

An announcement at the end of the Mass could look something like this, although you should feel free to adapt it to your own circumstances:

In the case of our discovering that someone at Mass today tests positive for COVID-19 in the next several days, we want to be able to inform all of you so that, in consultation with your physician, you can take the appropriate steps.

If you registered to come to Mass today, we already have your contact information, and will reach out to you if we learn that someone here has tested positive.

If you did not register, and if you wish to be contacted, please call or email the rectory with the appropriate contact information so that you can receive notification.

Even if you do not choose to leave your name, please know that we will make any announcement of a positive test on the parish website as well, so please check the website on a regular basis.