Updated April 7, 2020
Any questions regarding mandates and directives included on this page should be directed to [email protected].
During this challenging time, we turn to our Lord Jesus Christ and our Blessed Mother in prayer, especially for those who are sick or vulnerable, and for those who care for them. As faithful, we are called to encourage our community to pray. We can do so by implementing and sharing the prayer that the USCCB provided regarding COVID-19.
In order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community, Archbishop Carlson is mandating the suspension of all public Masses in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, beginning with Masses following 4:30 pm on March 16, 2020. Pending updates and guidance from local and state government and health officials, further evaluation pertaining to the timing of resuming public parish Masses will happen at a later date.
At this time, all churches are to remain open to individuals for personal prayer, devotions and confessions. Parishes are encouraged to enact schedules for parishioners around these events so as to adhere to social distancing guidelines and prevent groups of people from attending at the same time. Please contact your local parish to obtain more information.
As with Archbishop Carlson's directive on March 15, 2020 to close schools, this decision has not been made lightly. However, caring for both our physical and spiritual health go hand-in-hand, and the health, safety and overall well-being of the people of the archdiocese is his first priority.
Please review new details and guidelines below, to be implemented immediately and maintained until further notice pending updates.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Positive Diagnosis
In order to keep our parish communities safe, if you or a loved one are diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19), please contact your pastor immediately. Pastors have been directed to notify the health department and enact proper disinfecting protcols set forth by the CDC upon receiving this information.
Masses and Gatherings • Holy Week • Easter Vigil • Easter • Holy Communion • Eucharisitic Adoration • Weddings • Funerals and Burials • Baptisms • Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) • Reconciliation (Confession) • Anointing of the Sick • Collections • Charitable Assisatance and Giving • Parish Events (Picnics, Festivals, Auctions etc.)
No public Masses will be held for Holy Week or Easter liturgies. Private Palm Sunday, Chrism Mass and Triduum Liturgies will be live-streamed with Archbishop Carlson from the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis (times listed below).
Private Holy Week Mass celebrations should consist of ministers only, and should not exceed 10 ministers, in accord with the current CDC guidelines and directives from local government officials.
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Private Mass Only (Live-streamed from Cathedral Basilica at 8 am)
Placement of blessed palm branches so that parishioners may come and receive them will be left to the arrangements of the pastor. Please contact your local parish to inquire how to receive blessed palm branches.
Mass celebrated privately by Archbishop Carlson. (To be recorded and available for viewing at 10:00 am on Holy Thursday)
The public celebration of the Chrism Mass will not happen. The priests in attendance will be representing all the priests of St. Louis and will renew their priestly promises in front of Archbishop Carlson. Priests will pick-up their blessed Holy Oils beginning Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at 9 am for use in their respective parishes throughout the year. The schedule for Holy Oils pick-up times have been provided to pastors in private communication.
Mass of the Lord's Supper (Holy Thursday)
Private Mass Only (Live-streamed from Cathedral Basilica at 7:30 pm)
The private Mass celebration should consist of ministers only, and should not exceed 10 ministers. Archbishop Carlson recommends that all parishes be kept open for a part of the evening to allow the faithful to gather for private prayer (adhering to the latest social distancing guidelines from the CDC). Please contact your local parish for these arrangements.
Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)
Private Liturgy Only (Live-streamed from Cathedral Basilica at 3:00 pm)
The private Passion of the Lord celebrations should consist of ministers only, and should not exceed 10 ministers.
The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night (Easter Vigil)
Private Liturgy Only (Live-streamed from Cathedral Basilica at 8:00 pm)
The private Easter Vigil celebrations should consist of ministers only, and should not exceed 10 ministers.
- NOTE: Due to the suspension of all public Holy Week Masses, baptisms and receptions scheduled for the Easter Vigil are postponed until public Masses resume. See RCIA for more details.
Easter of the Resurrection (Easter Sunday)
Private Mass Only (Live-streamed from Cathedral Basilica at 8:00 am)
Go to Cathedral Basilica Live Stream Page
Additional Directives, Updates and Reminders
Masses and Gatherings
All public celebrations of the liturgy, including Holy Week and Easter, as well as Liturgy of the Hours, Stations of the Cross, and all other group services, Bible studies and activities are to cease until further notice. The dispensation Archbishop Carlson has offered for all Catholics in our archdiocese from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is now extended through April 30 and beyond pending further updates.
Holy Communion may only be distributed to those that are extrememly sick or in danger of death.
All those administering sacraments need to follow proper protocols from the CDC for handwashing and use of masks by those infected and those who are ministering.
Additionally, in compliance with the recommendations of the medical professionals to minimize the exposure to the coronavirus, Archbishop Carlson is requesting the following:
- While all priests are requested to celebrate a private Mass at their parish, priests may not accept the invitation, nor offer to celebrate Mass for any group, lay or religious.
- A priest who is residing on the premises of the religious community may offer Mass for this community.
- The faithful are encouraged to participate in the Mass through the many live-stream opportunities available throughout the archdiocese and beyond. This participation would include the time-honored practice of spiritual communion.
- Neither Communion Services nor the consecration of extra hosts for the distribution of Holy Communion to any group of lay or religious are permitted.
A handout on Spiritual Communion, as well as other liturgical resources, can be found at the following link: https://www.archstl.org/sacred-worship/spiritual-resources.
For First Communion (and Confirmation) updates see Confirmation and First Communion Ceremonies below.
Decisions regarding whether to continue operation of adoration chapels should be determined by the pastor. However, the exposed Blessed Sacrament is never to be left unattended. If necessary, the Blessed Sacrament may be reposed in the tabernacle at least two times during a period of adoration. Please take care to implement the most recent social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ensuring that no more than 10 individuals are gathered in Eucharistic adoration at one time.
Confirmation and First Communion Ceremonies
All Cathedral Basilica and parish Rites of Confirmation originally scheduled before June 1 are suspended. Pastors of these parishes will be granted faculty to confer the sacrament on a one-time-only basis. Further instructions regarding this process will be provided by the Office of Worship in the coming weeks. For those pastors who have received a special concession to confirm baptized Catholics at the Easter Vigil in your parishes, the Archbishop has extended this concession to Pentecost Sunday.
Scheduled First Communion ceremonies will be postponed until public Masses resume. Please contact your parish pastor for more details and information.
For information regarding updates the Rite of Christian Initiatiation for Adults (RCIA) that was to take place at Easter Vigil, see RCIA.
The decisions regarding whether to continue baptisms, weddings and funerals at this time will be determined by parish pastors. These events are to consist of immediate family members only, with no more than 10 people gathered at a time, including ministers. It is recommended that Memorial Masses be postponed to a later date when public Masses resume, following interment.
For information regarding postponement of Easter Vigil Baptisms and receptions, see Easter Vigil.
All committal services will continue to be held at the roadside at all Catholic Cemeteries’ locations. Calvary Cemetery office remains closed until further notice to coordinate reduced, rotating staff who will be essential to maintaining basic operations. To schedule direct burial services, please contact our Resurrection Cemetery office at 314.792.7737, option 1.
Catholic cemeteries will remain open to visitors, but strongly urge all guests to obey all directives and recommendations from local and state government agencies, including travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders. Visitors should expect that certain portions of a cemetery typically open to the public may be closed (for example: indoor mausoleums, chapels and offices). Please contact Catholic Cemeteries’ office for more information (314.792.7737, [email protected])
Due to the suspension of all public Holy Week Masses, baptisms and receptions scheduled for the Easter Vigil are postponed until public Masses resume. The sacraments of Christian Initiation and the Reception into Full Communion may take place on any Sunday during the Easter Season or in Ordinary Time, if necessary. The Vigil Mass of Pentecost (Saturday, May 30) is being considered as a reschedule date if "stay-at-home" orders are lifted, and public church services are restored by this time.
If one of the Elect or a candidate were seriously ill or in danger of death, the pastor could decide to initiate that person privately. In other exceptional circumstances, (i.e., being called to active military duty), the Archbishop would need to grant permission for initiation to take place (RCIA #34.2 and 331).
Please refer to the RCIA website for developing information and updates. Additionally, if other questions arise or assistance is needed for a particular situation, please contact Joe Milner at [email protected]
Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)
There should be ample opportunities for It is recommended that the Sacrament of Penance be celebrated using a screen (anonymously) to ensure the health department’s social distancing guidelines. Per the recommended guidelines, confession should take place six feet from the confessor. If a penitent prefers to offer a confession face-to-face, the chair of the penitent should be placed approximately six feet from the confessor. This may require holding confessions in a different location than usual. Please contact your parish or check your parish websites and social media pages for Reconciliation times and updates.
Anointing of the Sick
This sacrament may still be administered by priests to those seriously ill or in danger of death. However, priests administering this sacrament need to be in good health. Those administering the sacrament need to follow proper protocols from the CDC. Here are two additional links to assist with proper procedures to follow:
- Personal Protective Equipment Guidelines
- Anointing of the Sick Guidelines for Priests and Clergy
Collections remain essential to the continued operation of our parishes and their missions. Please use online giving, drop-off or mail contributions to your parish. To set up or inquire about online giving, please contact your local parish.
Charitable Assistance and Giving
The Archdiocese of St. Louis understands the economic impact that this emergency is having on so many individuals in our parishes, as well as on our community as a whole. However, in times like this, it is even more urgent for us to assist our brothers and sisters who are in the most need. We encourage you to consider supporting organizations that are responding to this crisis, such as Catholic Charities of St. Louis , The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Louis and the Annual Catholic Appeal.
- Assisting individuals in need: Please continue to work to support individuals who depend on parish charitable efforts for food and other necessities. You may refer parishioners and others who request assistance to The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Louis: dial 2-1-1; and/or Catholic Charities of St. Louis: dial (314) 367-5500 or email [email protected]
- Please note the following:
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul operations: Person-to-person home visits are temporarily suspended, but the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conferences are still taking calls. SVdP’s goal is to keep as many food pantries functioning as possible with altered procedures such as porch deliveries, bagging and picking up food, and distributing food vouchers or gift cards to those in need. Those in need should call 2-1-1.
- Catholic Charities of St. Louis operations: All Catholic Charities agencies continue to review services as recommended by health officials. Some services are being modified, and some non-critical services have been postponed. Catholic Charities is also working with the archdiocese and community partners to develop additional community relief efforts. If an individual is in need of services from a Catholic Charities agency, please refer them to the agency website (ccstl.org), to call the Catholic Charities office at (314) 367-5500 or to email [email protected].
All parish events should be rescheduled to a time later this summer or fall, including festivals and auctions, with the understanding that the events may need to be further postponed pending continuing guidance from government and health officials. Please contact your local parish for further information.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis will continue to share updated guidance and direction as developments regarding COVID-19 occur. We will continue to support you, and we ask for your continued prayers and support in return. Please contact [email protected] with any questions about liturgical guidelines. Through the intercession of Mary, Health of the Sick and our Mother, may the Lord of all love and compassion fill us with His peace.
Please monitor the social media accounts of Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the St. Louis Review for the most up to date information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
The state Department of Health and Senior Services has further information on its website at www.health.mo.gov.
Recommendations from the CDC
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
According to the new stay-at-home orders issued by St. Louis City and County, Churches are considered essential businesses, and therefore are permitted to continue operating hours in compliance with social distancing requirements and gathering size limitations.
In accordance with the stay-at-home orders, pastors are coordinating with parish office and school (if applicable) leadership to maintain only essential operations to meet the needs of the parish/school community. Please contact your parish office for further information regarding rectory and/or school office hours of operation.
Visit CDC Website