Mandates and Directives

Updated May 26, 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.

Archbishop Robert Carlson has announced that parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis are permitted to begin resuming public Masses on Monday, May 18, at the discretion of each individual parish pastor. Policy and guidelines are linked below.

Collaboration with the archdiocesan Presbyteral (Priests) Council, the Missouri bishops and civil authorities will continue through May 18 and beyond, 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 Carlson'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 are diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19), please do not enter your parish grounds and 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.

 


 

Quick Links

Masses and Gatherings •  Holy Communion • Eucharisitic Adoration • WeddingsFunerals and Burials • Baptisms • Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) • Reconciliation (Confession)Anointing of the SickCollectionsCharitable Assisatance and Giving • Parish Events (Picnics, Festivals, Auctions etc.) 

 

 


 

Directives, Updates and Reminders

Masses and Gatherings

Archbishop Robert Carlson has announced that parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis are permitted to begin resuming public Masses on Monday, May 18, at the discretion of each individual parish pastor. There may be some pastors and parishes due to pre-existing conditions or who are located in a highly-concentrated area of postivie COVID-19 cases who are unable to open at this time. Please contact your local parish for more information.

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.

 

Policies for Mass - FAQ Condensed Highlights for Parishioners and Mass Attendees CDC Guidelines

 

GENERAL GUIDELINES/REMINDERS

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 live-stream only.

 

CLEANING, SANITIZING AND HYGIENE
  • Appropriate cleaning of high-use areas within the church is completed before and after each service. 
  • Adhering to sanitation guidelines that are to take place after each Mass could mean that Mass schedules are adjusted or locations staggered to allow for time to sanitize the church. Please contact your local parish for more information.

 

CAPACITY/ATTENDANCE

Gathering of congregants where Mass is celebrated is limited to the following:

  • For churches of less than 10,000 sq. ft., the number of all those present at each Mass is limited to 25% or less of the fire or building code maximum occupancy.
  • For churches of 10,000 or more sq. ft., the number of all those present at each Mass is limited to 10% or less of the fire or building code maximum occupancy.

 

 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
  • The faithful are obliged to wear a mask during the celebration of Mass, except for the brief moment of receiving Communion.
  • Ushers and other volunteers will wear masks and gloves (when gloves are not available, frequent handwashing will be necessary) throughout the celebration of Mass.
  • Specific PPE practices are required for Eucharistic ministers. More details are included under “Holy Communion” below.

 

OFFERTORY
  • 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, nor will ushers take up the collection from the congregation.
  • 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 suspended.

 

Holy Communion 

Communicants are to receive the Host in the hand in keeping with the advice of state health officials and thereby to avoid the Communion minister’s fingers coming into contact with saliva or particles exhaled from the communicants’ mouth onto the ministers’ fingers.

Communion ministers must be masked, must sanitize their hands immediately before and after distributing Communion, and when at all possible, should utilize a disinfectant wipe or purificator dipped in a sanitizing solution (at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol) to sanitize their fingers when incidental contact is made with the communicant.

Distribution of Holy Communion from the chalice is prohibited to the assembly. For those who suffer from celiac disease, special arrangements are to be made with the pastor.

When approaching the Communion minister, the communicant is to pull their mask below their chin in order to prepare to receive Communion as above.  The communicant immediately replaces their mask after consuming the Host.

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.

 

Eucharistic Adoration

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. 

Scheduling Confirmation at Parishes:

As Archbishop Carlson has given the one-time faculty to pastors for administering the Sacrament of Confirmation, pastors 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, as well as many families having conflicts with only one scheduled parish Confirmation due to already scheduled family vacations. Thank you for all you do to accommodate this parish need.

Please contact your parish pastor for more details and information regarding re-scheduled First Communion Masses.

For information regarding updates the Rite of Christian Initiatiation for Adults (RCIA) that was to take place at Easter Vigil, see RCIA.

Weddings/Funerals/Baptisms

PLEASE NOTE: Pending updates to be made to this section with the resuming of public Masses.

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.

Burials

PLEASE NOTE: Pending updates to be made to this section with the resuming of public Masses.

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])

RCIA

PLEASE NOTE: Pending updates to be made to this section with the resuming of public Masses.

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)

PLEASE NOTE: Pending updates to be made to this section with the resuming of public Masses.

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

PLEASE NOTE: Pending updates to be made to this section with the resuming of public Masses.

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:

  1. Personal Protective Equipment Guidelines
  2. Anointing of the Sick Guidelines for Priests and Clergy

Collections

PLEASE NOTE: Pending updates to be made to this section with the resuming of public Masses.

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

PLEASE NOTE: Pending updates to be made to this section with the resuming of public Masses.

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].

Parish Events (Picnics, Festivals, Auctions, etc.)

PLEASE NOTE: Pending updates to be made to this section with the resuming of public Masses.

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