COVID-19 Response and Resources

UPDATE FOR APRIL 3 2020

Liturgical Guidelines and Holy Week (click here for Español)

Following the most recent guidelines from government officials and healthcare experts to extend the time period for social distancing, the following directives are to remain in place until April 30, 2020:

General Principles

  1. In cooperation with the governor’s executive order, parish offices are to be closed and employees, as they are able, are to work from home. Pastors should take precautions to keep their churches clean and open, if they are able, and available for prayer, especially for those interceding for the sick. Parishes should look for innovative ways to spiritually support the faithful, including livestreaming of Masses and supporting the catechesis of the faithful through electronic means. Parishes may consider collaborating with other parishes to provide high-quality options for the faithful.
  2. Funerals and weddings are to be suspended during this time. Priests should coordinate with their funeral directors when families request the rites proper to funerals. Graveside services are still permitted provided they observe proper social distancing.
  3. Baptisms are also to be suspended during this time. Where there is a real danger of death, the person should be baptized in the hospital or home of the parents. In danger of death, the faithful should consult with their pastors.
  4. Priests are to continue to celebrate private Mass daily, remembering the efficacious nature of the Mass even without the presence of the faithful and to fulfill Mass intentions which have been allocated. Pastors are reminded of their obligation to offer the Sunday Mass for the people of the parish. Collective Mass intentions are permitted twice a week if the donors agree to such. If Mass intentions cannot be fulfilled in the near future, the intention (and the attached stipend) should be sent to priests at other entities, such as the missions or SHMS, where they can be fulfilled.
  5. Since the spiritual well-being of the faithful in this time is essential, a very small number (not to exceed 10) of assistants (musician, cameraperson, server) is permitted so that a quality livestream Mass is possible.
  6. The pastoral care of the faithful must always be paramount. Therefore, priests should consider the best options for the celebration of private confession for those in dire need of the sacrament. See the accompanying directives regarding sacramental confession and General Absolution.
  7. Anointing of the Sick for those in dire need of the sacrament should still be performed in the home of the individual or in the hospital or healthcare facility, following the directives of the healthcare facility. Be sure to sanitize the oil stock before and after each anointing. Do not contaminate the sacred oil. For each anointing, use a new cotton ball (or “Q-tips”) and new oil on the cotton. (You are also permitted to use the cotton ball, and not your thumb, to anoint the head.) In the case of pastoral necessity, the hands do not need to be anointed. Be sure to then remove the cotton from the stock and properly burn it at a suitable time.
  8. Parish Confirmations scheduled for the remainder of 2020 are suspended until further notice. Plans for their resumption will be examined at a later date.

Holy Week

  1. Palm Sunday: Celebrate with the simple entrance option. Palms are not to be distributed in the parish during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order and may be distributed at a later time.
  2. Chrism Mass: Will be celebrated privately (not open to the faithful or the public) and livestreamed from Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Monday of Holy Week (April 6) at 7 p.m. Arrangements will be made for the oils to be distributed to the parishes through the vicars.
  3. Triduum liturgies are to be offered in private, keeping in mind General Principles No. 1 and No. 5. Triduum liturgies with Archbishop Vigneron will be livestreamed from Blessed Sacrament Cathedral; see times below.
    1. Mass of the Lord’s Supper: Note: The Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has granted permission for the liturgy on this day to be celebrated without the people due to these extraordinary circumstances (DECREE “In time of Covid-19”)
      1. The Washing of the Feet is to be omitted.
      2. The procession of the Blessed Sacrament is to be omitted. The Blessed Sacrament is to be kept in the Tabernacle.
      3. Mass will be livestreamed from Blessed Sacrament Cathedral at 7:00 p.m.
    2. Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion:
      1. The Cross should be reverenced by a genuflection or profound bow without kissing or touching the cross.
      2. A prayer “For an end to this pandemic” is to be added to the Solemn Intercessions during this liturgy. See below.
      3. This liturgy will be livestreamed from Blessed Sacrament Cathedral at 1:00 p.m.
    3. Easter Vigil: Note: The Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has given special instructions for this Mass this year (DECREE “In time of Covid-19”). No adjustments to the start time of the Mass have been made so it may not begin until after dusk.
      1. Administering the Sacraments of Initiation to those in RCIA is to be postponed until a later date when the fuller community can be present (see "d" below).
      2. The preparation and lighting of the fire as well as the procession into the church are omitted. The Paschal Candle is prepared and lit; this is followed immediately by the Exsultet.
      3. The baptismal liturgy is truncated to include only the Renewal of Baptismal Promises. Therefore the Mass should proceed thus after the Gospel:
        1. Homily.
        2. Renewal of Baptismal Promises, (No. 55 in Roman Missal for “Easter Vigil”), omitting the blessing of the water and the sprinkling.
        3. Preparation of the Altar and Offertory (Mass continuing as usual here).
      4. This Mass will be livestreamed from Blessed Sacrament Cathedral at 9:00 p.m.
    4. Catechumens and Candidates for Full Communion
      1. The Archbishop will determine a suitable time for the reception of these members into the Church (RCIA, 26-27).
        1. This will be announced in advance to allow proper preparation.
        2. At the time of the announcement, a plan for (or dispensation from) the Scrutinies will be announced (RCIA, 20, 30).
      2. Catechumens and Candidates for Full Communion have been a part of the RCIA process for many months and are supported by the RCIA team and parish. Part of our Easter joy is the parish seeing and celebrating their entrance into the Church.
      3. In the case of an emergency, a person may at any time be baptized, confirmed or received into the Church.
  4. Easter Sunday:
    1. Easter Sunday liturgies are to be offered in private, keeping in mind General Principles No. 1 and No. 5.
    2. This Mass will be livestreamed from Blessed Sacrament Cathedral at 11:00 a.m.

Holy Week Services are to be continued in parishes which are able. Pastors are to take into account General Principles No. 1 and No. 5 above.

Good Friday Solemn Intercession XI

XI. For an end to the pandemic

Let us pray, dearly beloved, for a swift end
to the coronavirus pandemic that afflicts our world,
that our God and Father will heal the sick,
strengthen those who care for them,
and help us all to persevere in faith.

Prayer in silence. Then the Priest says:

Almighty and merciful God,
source of all life, health and healing,
look with compassion on our world, brought low by disease;
protect us in the midst of the grave challenges that assail us
and in your fatherly providence
grant recovery to the stricken,
strength to those who care for them,
and success to those working to eradicate this scourge.
Through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

Previous Updates
March 17 Update: Food Pantries and Blood Drives

Parish food pantries may remain in operation. Please ensure that you continue to follow all necessary guidelines from government agencies to ensure the safety of parish staff, volunteers and those making use of the food pantry.

Parishes are permitted to continue holding blood drives as a way to support the community in the midst of this pandemic. Please be in contact with the Red Cross to ensure that all proper safety and health precautions are met. The Red Cross has information about their precautions during this time here.

March 13 Update: Temporary Suspension of Public Masses

In response to growing concerns regarding the spread of the Coronavirus and following the closure of Michigan schools, Archbishop of Detroit Allen H. Vigneron announced Friday the temporary suspension of publicly celebrated Masses.

“The decision to temporarily suspend public Masses was not and must never be taken lightly,” Archbishop Vigneron said Friday in a letter to the faithful. “As Mass is a commemoration of Christ’s great act of love for us, we take this unprecedented measure with eyes fixed on him and his greatest commandment to love one another, which in this difficult time means that we ensure the health and safety of our community by following the wise counsel of local, state, and federal government and health officials.”

The decision to suspend public Masses was made at the strong recommendation of health care professionals, including Ascension Health leadership, as well as government officials, in an effort to help stop the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable members of our community. Currently, public Masses are expected to resume Monday, April 6, in alignment with the re-opening of schools statewide. However, it is important to note that this schedule is subject to change as the situation involving the Coronavirus continues to develop.

During this time, members of the faithful are urged to keep holy the Lord’s Day by making an act of Spiritual Communion, a well-established devotional practice of uniting one’s self in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion. Individuals also may watch Mass from home online or on TV through services offered by EWTN, Fox 2, and the Catholic Television Network of Detroit (CTND) in English and Spanish. To find the Mass times and details, please click here.

Additional Information
Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan Resources and Information
For Sacred Heart Major Seminary

Sacred Heart Major Seminary has issued a response to COVID-19 with instructions for their students, faculty, staff and visitors, please view these instructions here.

Click here for more suggestions and information about the coronavirus from the CDC.

Please know that Archdiocese of Detroit has been, and will continue to, monitor news concerning the coronavirus. We are preparing for any potential impact on our parishes, schools and other ministries, and will follow any recommendations from local, state and federal officials.

We will continue to update this page with new information and resources as they become available.