In early March, all religious ceremonies were cancelled or made closed to the public when the Italian government imposed a nationwide lock down to stem the spread of coronavirus.
After some two months of livestreamed Mass and prayer in the home, Italian Faithful will soon be able to celebrate Mass and other religious ceremonies in their churches once again.
Last Thursday, the Church signed an agreement with the Italian government on a protocol outlining rules and regulations that must be followed to prevent the spread of coronavirus when reopening parishes.
The agreement was signed by President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and the Minister of the Interior Luciana Lamorghese.
Bassetti said the “the Protocol is the result of profound collaboration and synergy between the Government and the Italian Bishops’ Conference, where everyone has played their part responsibly.”
The protocol outlines the following:
- The Faithful must wear facemasks, and must respect the 1m safety distance between each other.
- All rooms and objects used will be sanitized at the end of each ceremony, and the sign of peace will be omitted.
- For the rites of Communion, the celebrant is required to sanitize his hands and must use gloves and a mask.
Prime Minister Conte said the measures “express the most appropriate ways to ensure that the resumption of liturgical celebrations with the people takes place in the safest way possible.”
As a country, Italy is entering its self-described “phase 2” of its coronavirus lockdown, only just beginning to open back up with “graduality” and “prudence.”