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Amid national lockdown, Austrian Catholic bishops tighten guidelines on Mass, urge delay of Baptism…

The country has also said that COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory starting Feb. 1.

The bishops’ “framework regulations” for church celebrations say that attendees are required to wear FFP2 (“filtering facepiece”) masks at indoor or outdoor Masses and all religious rites and services

The priest celebrant or other liturgical ministers will be required to show proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test result. Choirs will not be permitted, but up to four cantors can sing at the Mass only with proof of vaccination or recovery from the coronavirus.

Austria’s bishops have also encouraged Catholics to postpone reception of the sacraments of baptism, First Communion, confirmation, and marriage, during the lockdown.

Bishop Anton Leichtfried, the conference’s liturgy chair, said: “These celebrations are now to be postponed as much as possible in the interest of fellow celebrants.”

Protests against COVID-19 regulations and lockdowns took place over the weekend in Austria and other European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy.

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