POCATELLO — Based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, data from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and at the direction of Bishop Peter Christensen, Holy Spirit Catholic Community of Pocatello is ending its COVID-19 protocols.
“We appreciate the cooperation and patience exhibited by our parishioners since the pandemic began,” said Father Henry Carmona, pastor of the Holy Spirit Community. “Now, as we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost and a time of new beginnings for our church, we look forward to new beginnings for the way our parish functions.”
The following changes in procedures have been instituted at all Masses at Holy Spirit’s two chapels:
— Those attending Mass may enter the chapels through any of the designated entrances, and there will no longer be specific intake stations.
— Mask-wearing is optional. If you have not been fully vaccinated, wearing a mask is still recommended, but not required.
— Missals and other literature have been returned to the pews.
— Those attending Mass can proceed forward to receive communion, rather than the priests bringing communion to the pews. They may receive communion either in the hand or on the tongue, and beginning with Masses on June 5 and 6, the distribution of the Precious Blood will resume.
— The dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass because of COVID will be discontinued as of the weekend of June 5 and 6. “As always, the faithful must use their judgement regarding whether or not to attend Mass if they have concerns regarding their health,” noted Bishop Christensen. Live streaming of Masses will continue for those who cannot attend in person.
— Parish events and gatherings like coffee hours following Masses will be restored in coming weeks.
— Although the COVID protocols have been lifted, parishioners are still encouraged to wash their hands regularly and avoid crowding in small spaces. Hand sanitizing stations will be still in place at church entrances and those attending are encouraged to use them.
Church leaders are also urging parishioners to get vaccinated against COVID. A statement from the United States Conference of Bishops says, “Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of the community. In this way, being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.”
For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations, visit HSCC.org and click on the COVID-19 tab.