Lithuanian bishops permit public Masses, except on Sundays

  • 2020-04-24
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Roman Catholic churches in Lithuania will be able to celebrate Masses with congregations, except on Sundays, starting next Monday, the Lithuanian Bishop's Conference said on Friday. 

However, churches will have to observe safety guidelines.

Believers will not be allowed into churches without face masks and a density of one person per 10 square meters will have to be ensured. If the church cannot accommodate all of the faithful, those who remain outdoors will have to stand two meters from each other, the bishops said in a statement. 

They called on the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions, and those with COVID-19 symptoms not to go to churches and instead watch Mass online. 

The guidelines also include the requirement for churches to provide hand sanitizer at entrances and for everyone, except for the priest celebrating Mass, to keep their mouths and noses covered during the service.  

Currently, communicants can receive communion only in their hands and must keep a safe distance from each other. 

Funeral rites continue to be performed only in cemeteries and only immediate family members of the deceased are allowed to attend, according to the statement.

The bishops suspended all public services after the government introduced coronavirus quarantine measures on March 16.