Below, we have listed all of the guidelines and safety precautions we’re implementing at public Mass to ensure the health and safety of our parishioners. In addition, we will continuously update this page with new information pertaining to the Parish Office, activities within the parish, and more. Be sure to bookmark ⭐ this page for future reference.
Guidelines and Safety Measures
- Those who are elderly, at high risk, sick, or have difficulty maintaining a six-foot separation are encouraged to stay home. The Bishop has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for all the faithful throughout this initial reopening phase.
- Mass attendance is limited to 30 percent of the capacity of the three churches. The front entrance is the single entrance to each church. The two side exits are the only exits from each church.
- Ushers control the flow of crowds entering and exiting each church. Please be respectful of their instructions.
- A six-foot separation must be maintained within the churches, on the sidewalk leading up to the main entrances, and in the parking lots (members of a single household do not need to practice physical distancing). All attendees are required to sit in designated areas in order to maintain a six-foot separation.
- Face coverings are required in order to enter church. Please ensure that you remember to bring your own mask to church. Children under age 2 are excluded from this requirement.
- In order to more efficiently seat everyone, we ask that all who attend Mass arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the beginning of Mass. This will help ensure the Ushers have plenty of time to guide the crowd according to our guidelines.
- In the pews that allow seating, please note the blue tape on the back of the pew, at shoulder level, indicates the areas where seating is permitted.
- If you enter an empty center pew, please move all the way in to the center aisle, to the section marked with the blue tape. This will allow room for others so we may maximize our seating capacity.
- Large parties that are together may occupy an entire large pew, including the area without blue tape.
- In churches with side pews, seating is permitted in every side pew.
- However, one pew is marked at one side with seating capacity for one person and the next pew is marked with blue tape on the other side with seating capacity for two.
- Parishioners are not allowed to stand in the back of any of our three churches for Mass.
- During Mass, we understand it may be difficult to sing with the rest of the congregation while wearing a face covering. We encourage the faithful to sing softer to prevent getting too hot.
- Holy Communion is distributed after Mass. When coming forward to receive Communion, the faithful should remove their face covering and are encouraged to receive communion in the hand.
- Some of our parishioners, while in line for communion, have asked to receive the Eucharist on the tongue. While this is highly discouraged during this reopening phase, we ask that anyone who wishes to receive the Body of Christ on the tongue wait in their pews and proceed to the end of the line. This will help increase the efficiency of communion lines after Mass.
- Bathrooms inside our three churches are for emergency use only.
Live Streaming of Mass
St. Damien Parish is continuing live-streamed Mass from St. Augustine Church. We understand many people may find it best to stay home at this time, especially those who are most vulnerable. You can tune in by visiting stdamienparish.com/mass. Live-streamed Masses will be held Saturday evenings at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Please like our Facebook page for regular updates pertaining to new live streams.
The St. Damien Parish Office is now open to the general public Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Baptisms are allowed to take place so long as participants respect our guidelines and the capacity regulations issued by the Diocese of Camden. Please call the Parish Office and request more information on baptisms at (609) 399-0648.
Weddings are allowed to take place so long as participants respect our guidelines and the capacity regulations issued by the Diocese of Camden. Please call the Parish Office and request more information on weddings at (609) 399-0648.
Funerals are allowed to take place so long as participants respect our guidelines and the capacity regulations issued by the Diocese of Camden. Please call the Parish Office and request more information on funerals at (609) 399-0648.
Anointing of the Sick
St. Damien Parish will continue to provide the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick and will proceed with due consideration to the precautions in place at an individual’s home, nursing home, or hospital. The celebration of the last Sacraments and Viaticum will also still be offered.
All Catholic Schools within the Diocese of Camden have been closed until further notice. Bishop Sullivan, along with Diocesan and Catholic Schools staff, will continue to monitor the situation closely in order to determine a potential re-opening date, likely in the fall. Students and families are encouraged to follow directives set by the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent further infection.