First Day of Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC during Phase 2 Reopening

Near the end of this page you’ll find a related video, photos and other items…

Today was the first day that Mass would resume at St. Patrick’s Cathedral as the Archdiocese of New York would make its way towards normalcy in the midst of New York’s recovery from COVID-19.

Upon learning that mass would be held there today, I headed to its location in midtown Manhattan. I managed to attend their 1:00 pm mass which lasted just over half an hour.

The ushers, and all others within, wore masks except for one individual whom I came across upon my departure. I’ve no clue why no one approached the young man. As I understood, the mass was to be visually supervised. Regardless, I’d say there were maybe 50 or so parishioners and no more.

I’ve no idea what the general allowable capacity for this church is, yet the numbers of those in attendance today came nowhere close to the capacity allowed by the State’s Guidelines for Phase 2 reopening. At the moment, they’re set at 25% with an increase to 33% once we enter Phase 4 which should be June 20 for our city. What I saw today came nowhere close to a quarter of the numbers of people who could have sat within all their pews.

All individuals were spaced far enough apart from each other with groups and couples worshiping together. Communion was given and I saw people taking the wafer in their hands for the sake of consuming them individually. The priest wore no gloves or mask. I also understand that all members of the clergy would be tested on a weekly basis for the COVID-19 virus.

For the most part, you’d never have known that anything was different except for the social distancing. When it came time to offer one’s sign of peace to another, of course the usual handshake would not be taking place. Instead, we all glanced at one another and waved, nodded our heads or gave whatever reasonable sign one could give under the circumstances.

Personally, it was a bittersweet and yet enriching experience for me, for obvious reasons. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? I was there on the first day after Cardinal Dolan ordered for masses to not take place any more.

Upon leaving I spotted the guidelines posted near the entrance. I’ve posted a photo and the wording found within its display. Interesting, there’s mention of using a QR code within one’s Smartphone or device for the sake seeing out any related hymnal or other liturgical aids needed for the mass. Great idea! Lord knows I’ve stumbled repeatedly trying to figure out what the priest might say about finding a psalm in the book. Even worse, not having enough to time to figure out which book and what page.

You might want to also view this other related page, posted yesterday, concerning the Mayor and the Archdiocese moves towards this very day of Mass.

 

The following words are transcribed from the image on the right. It’s a guideline banner appearing near the entrance to the Cathedral.

The following protocols will be carefully observed for the common good:

  • Appropriate social distancing will be observed with spacing of 6 feet. Please follow the floor markers
  • Please sit by yourself in a pew with Green markers. Families and couples can sit in a pew together.
  • Please use your device as a hymnal or other liturgical aids needed for Mass. (Scan the QR code below)
  • There will be no sign of peace, greeting of peace before Mass or the holding of hands during the Our Father.
  • Facemasks or face coverings must be utilized while in church except for the reception of Holy Communion.

Holy Communion:

  • Holy Communion will be at the end of Mass, please exit after receiving.
  • The line for the reception of Holy Communion will also follow six feet distancing, please follow the markers on the floor.
  • It is highly recommended, for the safety of others as well as the recipient, that the option of receiving the Eucharist in the hand be employed at this time.
  • No gloves are to be worn by the minister or recipient during Holy Communion.