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.
*NEW* 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
Pastoral Center Update (March 17, 2020)
DIOCESE ISSUES NEW OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES FOR PASTORAL CENTER
ASKS ALL STAFF WHO CAN WORK REMOTELY TO DO SO
In keeping with medical and governmental recommendations and regulations related to COVID-19, the Diocese of Albany is asking all staff who can work remotely to do so. In addition, the Diocese has issued the following operational changes regarding its central offices at the Pastoral Center, 40 North Main Ave., Albany:
- 40 North Main will be closed to the general public.
- The front desk will be staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- All client meetings on the premises are suspended.
- Conference rooms are available for internal meetings only and maximum capacity guidelines will be strictly enforced.
- Only those with Pastoral Center badges are permitted in the building, with the exceptions of meetings that are essential to the functioning of the Diocese.
- Internal in-person meetings should be avoided whenever possible and online meetings such as Zoom and/or Free Conferencing should be used.
- Remember to practice social distancing, staying 6 feet away from other people if possible.
March 16, 2020 Mass Cancellation Update
ALL MASSES IN THE DIOCESE OF ALBANY CANCELED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE,
FAITHFUL URGED TO TAKE TIME TO PRAY AT HOME
Due to growing concerns and medical advice related to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in social settings, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has announced that all regularly scheduled public Masses in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany — except weddings and funerals — will be canceled until further notice. Churches will, however, remain open for private prayer, pending further regulations.
In addition, all Confirmations have been canceled until further notice and will be rescheduled. Funerals and weddings may be attended only by close family and in accordance with social distancing and capacity requirements. Further restrictions may force a change in those guidelines as we go forward.
“Although we know how difficult it is for Catholics to be without the Mass and without the Eucharist, we must do our part to help ‘flatten the curve’ and stop the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect the most vulnerable among us,” Bishop Scharfenberger said when making the announcement. “I encourage the faithful to pray and fast as we continue our journey through this season of Lent. Try to include at least 15 minutes of daily intentional prayer, with family where possible and safe. Use the Bible, say the Rosary, watch Mass on TV, and please remember to pray for those who are suffering from the Coronavirus worldwide and for all those in the medical community who are on the front lines.”
The Diocese of Albany is keeping Catholics apprised of changes, updates and resources on its dedicated web page: rcda.org/coronavirus. In addition, a Faith at Home page includes links to livestreamed Mass, daily Scripture readings, saints of the day, and suggestions for creating a sacred space at home: rcda.org/coronavirus/resources.
Faith Formation Update (March 16, 2020)
All activities associated with faith formation and youth ministry programs are likewise canceled until further notice. This includes all age groups (children through adults) and all types of programming: weekly sessions, retreats, sacramental preparation programs or gatherings, RCIA sessions, small faith sharing groups for adults, etc. See Faith Formation/Youth Ministry Resources.