Home » Rules for Reopening to Public Worship

Rules for Reopening to Public Worship

Rules and Guidance for Attending Liturgies at St. Michael Church, Pittston and St. Nicholas Church, Swoyersville.

With the return to celebration of public liturgies, all faithful need to follow the guidelines provided by the Eparchy of Passaic and our health professionals. 

Those who are considered “high risk” and vulnerable to COVID-19 virus or anyone who is not comfortable for their own safety may consider not attending public worship in church initially by choice.  The Eparchy of Passaic is recommending that parishes maintain the practice of live-streamed Divine Liturgies even after public celebrations resume to the benefit of all and in keeping with the mission of the Church. The bishop’s dispensation from attending the Sunday Divine Liturgy is still in force until further notice to protect the health of our faithful and our communities.

Please follow these rules in our churches:

  • If you are ill, were exposed to the virus, believe that you might be contagious, not feeling well, at high risk, or are afraid to contact the virus because of health reasons/compromised immune system, or if you have young children, you are dispensed from attending until further notice.
  • Only one entrance door will be wide open before Liturgy (in both churches). Front entrance doors in both churches will be unlocked but will remain closed to prevent a strong draft in the Church. You are encouraged to enter from the parking lots if you if you do not want to touch the door handles or you may wear gloves. Hand sanitizers and masks will be available near the Church doors.
  • A face mask MUST be used during the entire Divine Liturgy and only removed immediately before Communion.  Also, it is highly recommended to use gloves.
  • Social distancing (6 feet) of those not living in the same household should be observed. A family living together can sit without observing this rule. People not living in the same household may sit in the same pew, but a distance of 6 ft must be kept.
  • Sanitize hands (if you are not wearing gloves) upon entering and leaving the church. The sanitizers are located at the entrance to Church.
  • Do not socialize after Church. Refrain from physical contact. No handshaking.
  • The collection baskets will be located at the entrance to the Church. Please drop your envelopes after you come or before you leave the Church.
  • Holy Communion will be distributed safely using disposable spoons and will take place AFTER the Liturgy.  This is will avoid confusion and ensure best practices are followed for the safety of all.  Distribution of Communion will be done this way:  First, people in pews on the right side (if you face the altar) will form a single line, keeping a safe distance (6 feet).  People in pews on the left side will proceed next following the same rules.
  • Everyone who has requested to receive emailed bulletins will continue to receive them. There will be no bulletins to take home with you in the church.   A bulletin will be posted on the bulletin board that you can take a photo of with your cell phone.
  • The bathroom in the Church will be open. If you need to use it, you must use the provided sanitizing wipes to properly sanitize it. This must be done after every use; The choir loft will be closed. Only the Cantors are allowed to be present there.
  • As restrictions are lifted and further guidance from our Commonwealth Health Department is issued, these rules may be adjusted, including the number of individuals allowed in a church building at a given time.  At the time of this publication, our recommendation is to follow the rules in place at the moment.  Please keep all of this in mind and please follow the rules.