Due to constantly changing regulations during this challenging time, diocesan guidelines are updated regularly. 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.
May 23, 2020
Today’s COVID-19 update includes the following information and related attachment:
Be advised this document is a preparatory aid for those who are considering Parking Lot Masses as a future option for their parish. This document in no way grants permission to offer such public liturgies at this time. Such permission will be granted sometime in the near future.
May 21, 2020
Relevant to the Governor’s latest announcement, today’s COVID-19 update includes the following information and related attachments:
- Newly approved Guidelines for the Gradual Reintroduction of Public Liturgies and Worship, Initial Stage
- Specific Instructions for the Immediate Celebration of Funerals, Weddings, and Baptisms Only
- General Checklist for the Reopening of Church for Public Liturgies (Addendum C)
- Updates and Reminders during COVID-19 Pandemic
Moreover, and per New York State mandate, keep in mind public liturgies in churches are, at present, limited to 10 persons only.
Read previously released Timely Instructions
April 2, 2020
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
March 31, 2020
March 30, 2020
- Timely and Important Announcement concerning the Sacred Triduum
- Liturgical Directives concerning the Sacred Triduum - Please note these directives follow the decrees issued by the Holy Father and the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments dated 3/19/20 and 3/25/20
March 26, 2020
- *REVISED* Timely Instructions regarding Palm Sunday Liturgy which supersedes yesterday’s directive and all other previous guidance
March 24, 2020
March 23, 2020
- Timely Instructions regarding the Sacred Liturgies, Anointing of the Sick, Eucharist, and Reconciliation
- Guidance concerning the Eucharistic Precept or “Easter Duty”
March 21, 2020
- Timely Instructions relative to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order of 3/20/2020
- Guidelines relative to Confession and General Absolution