RE: END OF THE REBOUND ALERT PERIOD

Dear brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Tokyo:

RE: END OF THE REBOUND ALERT PERIOD

The COVID-19 quasi-emergency countermeasures for Metropolitan Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture was lifted on 21st March, after which the rebound alert period was set up in Tokyo, extending until 22nd May. Inasmuch as this alert period has ended, I would like to inform everyone that after careful consideration of the present infection situation, as well as the situation in our parishes, we shall be implementing some changes in our COVID-19 countermeasures.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you, especially those in the parishes within the Archdiocese of Tokyo, for your cooperation in our precautionary measures against COVID-19 infection.

In the Archdiocese of Tokyo, even after 23rd May, we will basically continue the implementation of the current Stage 3 precautionary measures and strive for the prevention of the spread of infection. In the light of the existing situation, we have considered relaxing some countermeasures, so please refer to the attached document and implement appropriate measures against COVID-19 infection in your communities such as in the parishes.

Since the actual situation for each parish may be very different, kindly refer to these countermeasures as a guideline and take the most suitable response to the situation according to the needs of the parish.

During this difficult situation, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all our brothers and sisters for continuously cooperating in our precautionary measures against COVID-19. Let us take serious effort to express with zeal our love for neighbors by protecting not only our own lives but also the lives of others inside and outside of the Church.

We shall soon celebrate the feast of Pentecost. Let us continue to pray to God our Father for the abundant blessing and guidance of the Holy Spirit so that we may be able to overcome this difficult time. We believe in the power of prayer!

Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, SVD
Archbishop of Tokyo

<REFERENCE>
STAGE 3 PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES AS OF MAY 23, 2022

(The revised portions are underlined.)

 

1 In order to keep a suitable distance from each other while inside the Church, we have to limit the number of people who can enter the Church. Family members who live together may sit close to each other. If proper ventilation cannot be maintained due to the structure of the church building, please take careful consideration to maintain a suitable distance between persons.

 Kindly follow the instructions of your parish priest, or the person in-charge of facilities, on the specific ways to implement the precautionary measures. As much as possible, please participate in the Holy Mass celebrated in the Church where you belong to. The parish will keep a record of those who participated in the Holy Mass in order to respond to the request of the public health department in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 infection. Careful handling of the personal information will be observed, and proper discarding will be made later.

 2For the elderly and those with chronic illness, as much as possible kindly pray at home. However, the age limit will not be enforced in the Church. For families having some concerns or anxieties, kindly pray at home. Please take note that all the faithful of the Tokyo Archdiocese are dispensed from their obligation to attend Sunday Masses.

 3As we had been doing since the beginning from 31st January 2020, let us continue to take proper precautionary measures against COVID-19 such as hand disinfection, providing sufficient ventilation, and for the time being with everyone wearing face masks while inside the church building.

 4During the Holy Mass and in other gatherings, please refrain from reciting the prayers all together. In case there is a wide space with proper ventilation, singing of hymns by a choir or by a cantor is possible, but please make sure to wear face masks.

 5 In the meantime, there will be no offertory procession at the Holy Mass. Also, for the time being, please receive Holy Communion by hand, and everyone must sanitize their hands immediately before reception. For those who would like to receive Holy Communion by mouth, in order to avoid infecting other people with the fingers of the priest during distribution, kindly consult the parish priest beforehand.

 6Except for the Holy Mass, all activities where people meet face-to-face such as meetings, assemblies, gatherings, study groups among others  should be carried out in the parish if the capacity of the venue (about half the capacity), proper ventilation and the length of time (maximum of about one hour and 30 minutes) is carefully considered. But please refrain from events that involve eating and drinking.

 7For the sacrament of reconciliation, please ensure proper ventilation of the room. Please take note that the notice released on 26th March 2020 regarding “The Message from the Apostolic Penitentiary on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and on Granting of Special Indulgence” is still valid.

 Note:  For priests and extraordinary ministers distributing the sacred host, kindly make sure that hands are disinfected and a face mask is worn. The parish priest may ask some parishioners to serve as “extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion” should he find it necessary.  Please wear a face mask regardless of whether you are fully vaccinated or not. Face shields are not a substitute for face masks. Even if you are using a face shield, please use also a face mask with it. Moreover, wearing non-woven masks is recommended.