Updated November 13, 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.
Parishes within the Archdiocese of St. Louis are celebrating public Mass at the discretion of the parish pastor and adhering to the policies and guidelines linked below.
Collaboration with the archdiocesan Presbyteral (Priests) Council, the Missouri bishops and civil authorities will continue with decisions subject to change based on any new data provided by health officials.
The general dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation will remain in place for all Catholics of the archdiocese until further notice, as many individuals continue to have concerns for the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones.
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 Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski's 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 is diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19), please do not enter your parish grounds and contact your pastor immediately. Pastors have been directed to follow protocols set forth by their local health departments and the CDC upon receiving this information.
Masses and Gatherings • Holy Communion • Eucharisitic Adoration • Weddings • Funerals and Burials • Baptisms • Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) • Reconciliation (Confession) • Anointing of the Sick • Charitable Assisatance and Giving • Parish Events (Picnics, Festivals, Auctions etc.)
Directives, Updates and Reminders
Masses and Gatherings
All four Missouri Bishops have dispensed the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday until further notice. The COVID-19 pandemic presents a serious threat to physical health.
Those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to another with the virus within 14 days are not permitted to enter the church or any parish facility, in accordance with national, state and local health directives. All attendees are asked to check their temperature at home before coming to church.
Dispensation of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass continues until further notice.
- Parishioners who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to another with the virus should not come to church, in accordance with national, state and local health directives.
- Attendees should take their temperature at home before determining whether they should attend Mass.
- Anyone over 60 years old and those with underlying health complications are encouraged to participate in Masses via livestream only.
CLEANING, SANITIZING AND HYGIENE
Parishes will now only be required to clean pews once a day unless otherwise stated by city or county health officials. Please contact your local parish for more information.
All parishes should adhere to the capacity restrictions mandated by the city or county officials where they reside, but also be mindful of the six-feet social distancing requirements recommended by health officials. So, while some areas may loosen capacity restrictions, please be sure that your parishioners can still maintain six feet between themselves.
Individual family/household or other units who are attending Mass together may sit together, but must maintain six feet between their unit and all other families/households/units.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
Some counties are now mandating that masks be worn at all times. For parishes that reside in a county where this ordinance exists, masks must be worn throughout Holy Mass with the exception of the moment of receiving Holy Communion. For parishes that reside in a county where masks are not mandated, masks are required for entry into the church, as well as when moving about the church, going up to receive Holy Communion, and exiting the church; however, it remains up to the parish pastor to mandate masks in the pews.
- Regardless of the county, the Archdiocese of St. Louis strongly encourages pastors to mandate masks throughout Mass with the exception of the moment of receiving Holy Communion.
- All Eucharistic Ministers must wear a mask when distributing Holy Communion.
- All altar servers should wear a mask when serving at Mass.
- Priests and deacons are required to wear masks when entering the Church, but may remove their mask when celebrating Mass from the altar to speak/preach, as long as at least six feet of social distancing can be maintained from the congregation. Priests and deacons and are strongly encouraged to wear masks throughout the Mass, especially when social-distancing from con-celebrants is not possible, except when speaking/preaching.
- Priests/deacons must wear a mask when distributing Holy Communion.
- Cantors may remove their mask when singing in front of the congregation, as long as social distancing is maintained from the rest of the congregation.
- Readers/lectors may remove their mask when reading at the ambo, as long as proper social distancing is maintained from the rest of the congregation.
- Stationary baskets will be used for donations from the assembly and are to be monitored by the ushers until the donations are collected.
- Collection baskets should not be passed. Ushers may only take up the collection from the congregation using stick baskets that are not passed, but only handled by the usher.
- Please consider giving your offertory online. Please contact your parish for more details regarding the availability of online giving.
SIGN OF PEACE
The sign of peace is permitted only through a gesture that does not involve physical contact--such as a wave or bow.
Parish choirs and/or bands are not permitted until further notice. Music and hymns may be led by a single cantor during Mass. The cantor must follow all guidelines in place at the parish and in the county where the parish resides. The cantor’s mask may be removed while they are singing in front of the congregation, as long as proper social distancing is possible between all others.
Congregational singing is permitted at the discretion of the pastor. However, where singing by congregants is allowed, it is highly recommended that masks be worn by the congregation at all times, including when in the pews.
For information on hymnals, please see the “Missals/Hymnals” section of this webpage.
Missals/hymnals are not permitted to be used in the pews at this time. Parishioners/congregants are encouraged to bring their own liturgical materials. Parishes also have the option of ordering individual materials for parishioners/families to keep as their own and bring to Mass with them.
Parishes may consider using digital screens for hymn music/lyrics, if technical capabilities allow.
BULLETINS/OTHER SINGLE-USE HANDOUTS
Single-use handouts such as parish bulletins may be provided to the congregation by placing them on a table or other area in the church before/after Mass, where they can be picked up individually by parishioners, if social distancing can be accommodated.
Sprinkling rites are to be discontinued until further notice.
Holy Communion hosts to be distributed to the congregation are to be covered with a cloth covering or lid during consecration on the altar. Kleenex, paper towels or other similar paper goods are not considered appropriate coverings. Please direct any questions about coverings to the Office of Worship.
Holy Communion will be offered in the hand or on the tongue by the Mass celebrant only. Holy Communion distributed by extraordinary ministers will be administered in the hand only. We strongly recommend that parishioners receive Holy Communion in the hand, however, as this is a celebration of God’s love for us and the most important part of our Mass, parishioners who still wish to receive Holy Communion on the tongue should receive from the Mass celebrant only.
Continue the suspension of the distribution of Holy Communion via the chalice.
Ushers or other volunteers who are masked and gloved will ensure six-foot distancing in the Communion line.
Floor markings shall be placed six feet apart in the aisles in which the congregation approaches the sanctuary for Communion to facilitate proper social distancing.
Maintaining a single-file is necessary for the distribution of Holy Communion for each Communion minister and communicant to maintain social distancing. Multiple Communion ministers may be used as long as one-way traffic patterns are observed.
Holy Communion for the homebound:
Holy Communion for the homebound can take place with safety measures that included the use of masks, sanitizer and adhering to social distancing.
- The Eucharistic minister must wear a mask at all times.
- Communicants should wear masks, with the exception of the moment of receiving Holy Communion.
- Hand sanitizer should be present and used in the event of any contact.
- Social distancing should be adhered to in all cases outside of distributing Holy Communion.
If a visit is requested by a nursing home or hospital, the facility or requesting party should contact the parish closest to its parish boundaries for assistance. Parish staff should direct any questions about this to the Archdiocese of St. Louis Vicar for Priests.
Decisions regarding whether to continue operation of adoration chapels should be determined by the pastor adhering to all of the guidelines for public Mass. 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.
Confirmation and First Communion Ceremonies
Scheduling Confirmation at Parishes:
Pastors have been given the one-time faculty for administering the Sacrament of Confirmation, and may schedule more than one Confirmation Mass to accommodate their parish need. Parishes may need additional Confirmation Masses on account of the number of Confirmation candidates, sponsors and family members. Please contact your local parish for updates regarding rescheduled Confirmations, First Communions and RCIA ceremonies at your parish. Thank you for all you do to accommodate this parish need.
Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
The decisions regarding whether to continue baptisms, weddings and funerals at this time will be determined by the pastor and should adhere to all of the guidelines for public Mass. Please contact your local parish with any questions.
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]
All seventeen locations of Catholic Cemeteries are open and will continue to provide interments. However, the management of Catholic Cemeteries continue to adjust services in light of the best practices urged by the CDC, local authorities and archdiocesan leadership as phased re-opening continues during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Graveside committal services may be held at all Catholic Cemeteries’ locations. If an adequate number of pallbearers cannot be provided, please alert the cemetery office so that roadside services may be scheduled. Interment chapels continue to be closed to committal services due to occupancy restrictions. While there are no longer size limits for outdoor gatherings, we encourage all participants to follow local, state and federal guidelines regarding social distancing and other precautionary measures.
Calvary and Resurrection Cemeteries’ offices are operational, yet remain closed to walk-in traffic. To schedule a burial service, at-need or pre-need appointment, please call the respective office; contact information can be found below.
Calvary Cemetery Office (p) 314.792.7738, (f) 314.382.2785
Resurrection Cemetery Office (p) 314.792.7737, (f) 314.352.0097
Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)
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
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 social gatherings or meetings on parish grounds should adhere to the guidelines and mandates set forth by the county in which the parish resides. At this time, in St. Louis City and St. Louis County, all gatherings on parish grounds outside of the celebration of Holy Mass need to be limited to 10 people or fewer. If your parish resides in either of these counties and you currently have gatherings booked that include more than 10 people, we ask you to consider livestream opportunities or canceling the event. Please also keep in mind
that at a minimum, schools/parishes should follow the guidelines provided by the appropriate
county health officials; however, further restrictions or more cautious protocols should be
implemented as warranted by any given situation. Please reach out to your local parish for further information.
For Reference: Original Guidelines for Resuming Public Mass
Implemented May 18
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 Mitchell T. Rozanski, 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.
The latest guidelines and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control can be found on its website at https://www.cdc.gov/.