This page is being updated regularly. To ensure that you can find the newest additions to various resources sections easily, we will highlight new information at the top of this page for your convenience.
March 31, 2020
Diocesan Guidelines Related to COVID-19 Prevention
Due to constantly changing regulations during this challenging time, these guidelines are updated regularly. (Latest update made on 3-31-2020, 12 p.m.)
Please understand that the following have been developed after careful consultation with various parties, including certain decrees from the Vatican, as well as input from health and governmental directives and guidelines.
Public Masses and Gatherings
As of March 22, 2020, at 8 p.m., in accordance with the governor’s executive order, the Diocese announced that all public liturgies are canceled until further notice. This includes baptisms, funerals, and weddings. Emergency sacraments are permitted; parishioners should contact their pastor in the case of a baptism or anointing needed in an urgent situation.
Parishes are permitted to livestream Masses in order to provide spiritual support to the faithful. During livestreamed liturgies, the doors to the church will be locked to prevent people from gathering. In addition, a minimal number of ministers should be involved in the liturgy: priest-celebrant, lector, cantor, organist, server and camera operator. Social distancing requirements must be maintained at all times. For a list of parishes providing livestream Masses, visit rcda.org/livemass.
Churches may remain open, but must follow public restrictions currently in place (i.e. social distancing, not becoming a place of gathering, no congregate services, regular and often localized sanitizing of space, etc.). This allows individuals access for prayer.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Regularly scheduled parish reconciliation times are prohibited. The faithful may call a priest and arrange to meet for individual reconciliation as long as various guidelines are followed (social distancing, sanitizing, hygiene, etc.)
Anointing of the Sick
Anointing of the Sick may be permitted in dire circumstances and when a proper request is submitted. Where an anointing is given to a person in isolation (in a hospital, for example) all physical contact precautions should be taken and governmental/medical regulations followed.
As funeral homes are exempt, funeral services with a minister may be provided at the funeral home and/or graveside, as long as they abide by restrictions placed by civil authorities.
Holy Week and Easter
- The Celebration of the Chrism Mass is postponed to a later date yet to be determined.
- Palm Sunday Masses are to be celebrated by the priest alone without the faithful in attendance. (Or celebrated according to livestream guidelines.) There will be no blessing of, or distribution of, palms in any parishes.
- The liturgies of the Sacred Triduum will be livestreamed from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, with Bishop Scharfenberger presiding. The livestream will be available on the diocesan website: www.rcda.org/livestream and on the diocesan Facebook page. The schedule of liturgies is as follows:
Sunday, April 5, 11 a.m.
Palm Sunday Mass, Bishop presiding
Holy Thursday, April 9, 5:30 p.m.
Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Bishop presiding
Good Friday, April 10, 5:30 p.m.
Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death, Bishop presiding
Holy Saturday, April 11, 8 p.m.
Solemn Vigil of Easter, Bishop presiding
Easter Sunday, April 12, 11 a.m.
Easter Mass, Father David R. LeFort, rector of the cathedral, presiding
See more at rcda.org/coronavirus/timely-instructions