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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Catholic Bishop announces return to indoor masses in San Diego County

Bishop McElroy made the announcement based on Gov. Newsom's new guidelines for houses of worship.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. β€” The San Diego Catholic Diocese released a set of guidelines on Tuesday that allows all of the local churches to begin conducting masses indoors. The new guidelines are based on Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement on Friday related to houses of worship in San Diego County.

Bishop Robert W. McElroy issued a letter on Tuesday detailing the plans for the churches.

The letter stated in part that the county parishes "may begin holding Masses inside their churches [Wednesday]. All religious services inside must observe social distancing and include no more than 100 participants."

The bishop referenced the initial steps that the church took during May and June and that they should be reinstated. These steps include the use of masks for all, not physically expressing the Sign of Peace, and taking Communion in only one hand.

Churches are still allowed to continue services outdoors as there is no limit to the congregations outside but "social spacing is mandatory, as are the use of masks, the prohibitions of the Sign of Peace, the distribution of Communion only in the hand and careful traffic patterns."

β€œIn talking with several pastors, it is clear to me that parishes will make different choices in San Diego County on whether to hold Mass inside, outside or both in the coming weeks," Bishop McElroy stated in his letter. "Pastors should make the choice that best fits their physical situation and community desires."

Private worship at Saint Jude takes place most days and starts at 10 in the morning.