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Resumption of public Masses: what to expect

A Letter from Father Linsky

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: To say the past few months have been difficult would be an understatement in the extreme. For some in our parish family, the shutdown has caused serious hardship and has been a cross they neither expected nor were prepared to bear. As I’ve said throughout this crisis, with Christ as our guide and with the prayers and support of our incredible community we will emerge even better prepared to live our faith with conviction and vigor. I expect it will be some time yet before we return to normalcy – or at least a “new normal” – but the beginning of the end is in sight, and it is with great hope and joy that on Monday, May 11th, we will resume celebrating public Masses! I cannot begin to express the sense of relief I feel to be able to welcome you back into the physical presence of Our Lord and one another as a parish community as we were meant to be. However, as we do so, we must proceed with great caution, in obedience to the guidelines and protocols provided by Bishop Guglielmone and cognizant of the recommendations of the civil authorities – but most of all, to protect those among us at greatest risk. On this basis, I have worked carefully with our parish staff to outline our own guidelines to re-open the Basilica, welcome as many parishioners as possible back to Mass, and to do so safely. Because our staff will work on Sundays in order to carry out these guidelines, please note that on Fridays, until further notice, our office will close and we will not offer Mass. Below, you will find a near-comprehensive set of details, instructions, and our complete Mass schedule; please review all carefully and completely. In closing, let me say that I have been humbled by and so, so proud of your resilience, adaptability, and generosity during this time. God bless you and your family, and I look forward to seeing you very soon. Sincerely yours in Christ, Fr. Gary S. Linsky The Very Reverend Canon Gary S. Linsky, V.F. Rector


A Dispensation from the Sunday Obligation Remains in Place

Because of the ongoing health crisis, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone continues to grant dispensation to all Catholics in the Diocese of Charleston from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. Further, we encourage the following people to stay home and watch our live-streamed Masses:

  • People who feel sick

  • People who have been exposed to someone who is sick

  • People in vulnerable or at-risk populations

  • People over age 65

  • People with respiratory issues

  • People who are immuno-compromised

We will continue to live-stream Masses for those who are unable to, or shouldn't attend.


What to Expect at Church

  • While our restrooms will be available, we encourage all to use the restroom at home before coming to church, in order to limit touching of shared surfaces.

  • Our campus will be open for Mass only; facilities will not be available for gathering, socializing or play.

  • Except for those who require handicap accessibility, please enter only through the front doors of the church (do not come to the Garden Door or the front door of the church office).

  • Our nursery will not be available.

  • We will accommodate up to 25% of our normal capacity in the church in order to achieve physical distancing.

  • Entrance will be permitted no earlier than 30 minutes prior to Mass.

  • Staff will usher attendees to their seats.

  • Only families of the same household should sit together.

  • We will cordon off pews at intervals that assure distance between seated attendees.

  • Where necessary, we will use markings on the floors to guide physical distancing.

  • We will offer overflow seating in Neglia Hall and Gibson Hall if necessary, with live-streamed versions of the Mass broadcast on the large screens in those rooms. These rooms are also limited to 25% of their normal capacity.

  • Our total capacity will be approximately 220 people.

  • We will place hand sanitizer at the entrance to the church and Neglia Hall for your use.

  • We have removed the holy water from each font to prevent touching of shared surfaces.

  • We have removed hymnals from the pews. Attendees will receive a one-time-use order of worship that will be collected after Mass for disposal.

  • We will not pass the offertory basket; instead, we will make baskets available for your offerings as you exit the church.

  • We will not have the Sign of Peace.

  • At Communion:

  • We will distribute Holy Communion in the hand only. For health reasons, we will not distribute Holy Communion on the tongue.

  • We will not distribute the Precious Blood.

  • Staff will direct attendees, pew by pew, to control the flow of people and assure distance.

  • The communion procession will be single-file, with six feet between each person or household.

  • If you wear a face mask, please remove it before coming to Communion.

  • At the end of Mass staff will dismiss attendees pew by pew.

  • All attendees will exit through the front doors of the church, except where handicapped access is required.

  • Between all Masses, we will wipe down door handles, pews and other high-traffic surfaces with disinfectant, following CDC guidelines


What We Ask You to Do

  • Observe the Golden Rule: Stay home if you are sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick, so that you do not put others at risk.

  • Follow personal hygiene practices as recommended by the Center for Disease Control.

  • If you have a face mask or cloth face cover, we encourage you to wear it to Mass.

  • Follow the physical distancing parameters we are putting in place on our campus.

  • Please continue to make your regular financial offerings, even if you do not attend Mass. Your support is critical to our ability to function always, and particularly as we pivot again to re-open during an ongoing health crisis.

  • Give online

  • Text your offering to 803-281-3902. Text the dollar value of your gift and the fund you wish to support. Examples:

  • $100 for the Offertory: text 100 OFF

  • $100 for Preservation: text 100 PRES

  • Mail your offering to 1529 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29201

  • Stay tuned to our communications for updates or schedule changes:

  • Our website

  • Our Facebook page

  • Emails from the Basilica of Saint Peter; sign up at

  • Announcements after Mass

  • Pray:

  • for all whose health and livelihood are affected by the coronavirus and the life-altering measures taken to limit its transmission.

  • for our parish, that our mission of helping people to encounter the living Christ remains unimpeded in this ongoing health crisis.

  • for Spiritual Communion, any time you are unable to receive the Eucharist: My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You have already come, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.


Public Mass Schedule, beginning Monday, May 11

Weekdays Monday: 12 PM Tuesday: 12 PM Wednesday: 12 PM Thursday: 12 PM Friday: No Mass

Weekend Saturday: 5:30 PM Sunday: 9 AM 11 AM 1 PM (Misa en Español) 5:30 PM

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