COVID-19 Rules and Guidance for Attending Liturgies specific to 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. Hand sanitizer and masks will be available in the vestibule just prior to entering the nave (main section) of our church. Therefore, you will be able to sanitize your hands after you use the handrails and touch any door handles. Our church is regularly cleaned and sanitized as well.
- A face mask MUST be used during the entire Divine Liturgy and only removed immediately before Communion.
- 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 your hands (if you are not wearing gloves) upon entering and leaving the church.
- Do not socialize after Church. Do not congregate in the church entrance (vestibule). Refrain from physical contact. No handshaking. We have also removed all liturgical books from each pew for your safety.
- 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 wooden spoons, one new spoon for each communicant, and distrbution of Holy Communion will take place AFTER the Liturgy. (The spoons used are burned respectfully as this is one of the proper procedures for disposing sacred items.) 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. If you are uncomfortable in any way, do not feel obligated to receive Communion. For those who do, please exit the church directly afterwards.
- 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 restrooms (located in the basement social hall) in the Church will be open. If you need to use them, you must use the provided sanitizing wipes to properly sanitize whatever you touch in the restroom after use. 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.