Oahu’s new restrictions mean no singing or wind instruments at mass, renewed recommendation to work from home


Robert Mondoy conducts the music during Chrism Mass on April 2, 2020, at Notre-Dame de la Paix Cathedral Basilica in Honolulu. Singing and playing wind instruments is no longer permitted during church services in Oahu between midnight August 19 and September 16, 2020, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases on the island. (HCH archive photo)

With a surge of coronavirus cases in Oahu in August, Hawaii Governor David Ige approved Oahu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s increased restrictions on social gatherings. These come into effect on August 19 at midnight and last 28 days.

While church and other religious services may continue to take place, singing is now prohibited, as is the playing of wind instruments other than organs.

The instrumental music of the piano and organ can still be used during the entrance gathering, the rite of communion and the recession, the director of the worship office of the Diocese of Honolulu, Deacon Modesto Cordero, said in an August 19 statement about the changes.

Readers or priests should pronounce the antiphons for entry and communion and say or omit the “hallelujah”. Other parts of the Mass should also be recited.

Masks must be worn at all times during Masses and services by clergy, lay ministers and participants. If breathing problems are a problem, face shields should be worn instead.

The New Order of Oahu limits social gatherings to five people or fewer, which includes any church ministry and any community or staff meeting in a church, Deacon Modesto wrote. However, this does not include attendance at Mass.

All other guidelines remain in place.

Diocese Human Resources Director Dara Perreira also sent an email to parish and diocese staff reminding them to work from home when possible in accordance with new Oahu guidelines. Gathering places in the workplace like communal kitchens and break rooms were to be closed except to access food and other items.

“The Catholic Church, as an employer and as a member of the community, must respect order and do as much as possible to contribute to safe and healthy workplaces and homes,” Perreira wrote.

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