COVID-19 Response and Resources

August 17, 2021 Update
  • The Archdiocese of Detroit encourages Mass-goers, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face-coverings and to practice social distancing to reduce exposure to COVID-19
  • Each pastor/In Solidum team should evaluate their location in the Archdiocese and implement the following protocols:
    • Establish an area where social distancing is observed
    • Strongly encourage masking and social distancing
    • Hang signage indicating masking and social distancing are encouraged
    • Evaluate space for the choir, and strongly recommend that those who are unvaccinated do not participate in the choir at this time
    • Retain sanitization/face covering surrounding the distribution of Holy Communion
  • The faithful are reminded that particular dispensations from the obligation to participate in Holy Mass remain in effect for people who are ill or who find themselves in other specific circumstances. Click here for more information.


Updated guidelines for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit can be found here.

June 18, 2021 Update:

Archbishop Vigneron has approved the following revised guidelines for parishes. These new guidelines will take effect on Monday, June 28, 2021.

As Michigan returns to a more normal lifestyle, COVID-19 related liturgical protocols could be retained by local pastors. Pastors should be conscious that any protocols they retain should be seen as extraordinary measures for extraordinary times. Parishes/Families of Parishes should create a timeline as to when any of their parish/family protocols will expire.

  1. The Archdiocesan-wide directive to wear face-coverings and social distance has expired. Each pastor/In Solidum team should establish a protocol for their parish(es)/Family of Parishes based upon local conditions (e.g., a pastor/team may: establish an area where social distancing continues to be observed, direct the return of choirs, institute the resumption of the presentation of gifts, retain sanitization/face covering surrounding the distribution of Holy Communion).
  2. A reminder that clergy may, if they wish, continue to use separate Chalices or to receive the Precious Blood by intinction.
  3. It is recommended, at the present time, that parishes refrain from distributing Holy Communion from the Chalice to the faithful (except for bride and groom on their wedding day). The faithful can be reminded that in receiving the Sacred Host, they are also receiving the Blood of the living Christ.
  4. Parishes should have signage indicating any local parish COVID protocols. This is especially helpful for visitors.
  5. Parishes should look to the Department of Catholic Schools for particular guidance regarding youth athletics and school activities.
  6. Parishes should look to the Department of Human Resources for workplace guidance (requirements for parish offices, etc.).
  7. These liturgical directives replace all previously issued liturgical directives related to COVID-19.


Particular Dispensation Information

Archbishop Vigneron announced that the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days expired on Saturday, March 13, 2021. In its place, he has granted a number of particular dispensations for the faithful who may find themselves in specific circumstances.

Please read below for information about these specific dispensations and visit aod.org/comehometohope to learn more about how our parishes are working to keep everyone safe at Mass as well as tips and advice for inviting friends and family to attend Mass with you.

Considering the grave obligation we have of being physically present with our brothers and sisters at Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation for the Eucharist, each of us is asked to make a good and sincere judgement as to whether these circumstances apply or not. Where doubt or confusion persists, consult any priest for clarity.

While the general dispensation is removed, there are specific instances where the dispensation will continue, as well as those circumstances where there is no obligation in the first place. One does not have an obligation to attend Mass on Sunday in the following circumstances:

  1. You are ill or your health condition would be significantly compromised if you were to contract a communicable illness (i.e., you have underlying conditions or are in a high-risk category). Please use the dispensation and do not attend Mass.
  2. You exhibit flu-like symptoms. Please use the dispensation and do not attend Mass.
  3. You have good reason to think you might be asymptomatic of a contagious illness (e.g., you were in recent contact with someone who tested positive for a contagious illness such as COVID or influenza). Please use the dispensation and do not attend Mass.
  4. You care for the sick, homebound, or infirmed.
  5. You are pregnant.
  6. Those 65 years of age or older (per the CDC’s recommendation of high-risk individuals).
  7. You cannot attend Mass through no fault of your own (e.g., no Mass is offered, you are infirmed, or, while wanting to go, you are prevented for some reason you cannot control (e.g., your ride did not show up, the church was at capacity).
  8. If you have significant fear or anxiety of becoming ill by being at Mass.

For questions about the application of any of these, please contact your pastor.

These categories will be reviewed in due course and revised as needed.

Those within categories #1-8 above must still observe the Lord’s Day and are encouraged to spend time in prayer on Sunday, meditating on the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection; an excellent way to do this is through participating in a broadcast of the Sunday Mass.

Frequently Asked Questions
When did the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation expire?

The general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation expired on Saturday, March 13.

Why did Archbishop Vigneron decide to end the general dispensation now?

During these difficult months of pandemic, our pastors, parishes, and all the faithful have adapted in order to ensure the health and well-being of everyone in our local communities. The safety precautions in place at our churches, such as capacity limits and rigorous cleaning protocols, have proven effective at facilitating essential public worship without undue risk of accelerating the pandemic. And while livestreamed Masses have been a means to help Catholics nourish their souls when they could not be present for Mass, we must remember that it cannot become the norm. God did not come to us virtually. He came to us — and continues to come to us — in the flesh. As Catholics, unmediated contact with the Real Presence of the flesh and blood of Our Lord in offering this sacrifice to the Father is irreplaceable and essential. We recall Christ’s own words when he foretold the gift of the Holy Eucharist:

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6: 54-56)

In recognition of the essential and central nature of the Holy Eucharist in our lives as Catholics, it is important that the faithful begin to return to Mass, when and where possible.

Was this decision made in consultation with healthcare experts?

Yes. We have monitored the guidelines and requirements from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as well as county health officials. All decisions regarding our practices during the pandemic have been informed and guided by experts in the medical community.

Does this mean everyone is now obligated to go to Mass again?

No. We know that there remains the concern for the spread of infection and we must remain vigilant to limit its spread, particularly among those most vulnerable. With this in mind, there are particular dispensations granted to people in certain circumstances, including those who are ill and those who care for anyone who is at risk of serious complications from COVID-19.

In allowing the general dispensation to expire, we must welcome back to Mass all Catholics who have been engaged in other activities that would present a similar or greater risk of exposure, such as eating out at restaurants, traveling, partaking in non-essential shopping, and widening one’s circle of contacts. These individuals should also prepare to return to Mass in recognition of its preeminence in our lives as Catholics.

Who is still dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass?

If you live in the Archdiocese (or are visiting within the Archdiocese on a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation), you do not have an obligation to attend Mass on Sunday in the following circumstances:

  • You are ill or your health condition would be significantly compromised if you were to contract a communicable illness (i.e., you have underlying conditions or are in a high-risk category). Please use the dispensation and do not attend Mass.
  • You exhibit flu-like symptoms. Please use the dispensation and do not attend Mass.
  • You have good reason to think you might be asymptomatic of a contagious illness (e.g., you were in recent contact with someone who tested positive for a contagious illness such as COVID or influenza). Please use the dispensation and do not attend Mass.
  • You care for the sick, homebound, or infirmed.
  • You are pregnant.
  • Those 65 years of age or older (per the CDC’s recommendation of high-risk individuals).
  • You cannot attend Mass through no fault of your own (e.g., no Mass is offered, you are infirmed, or, while wanting to go, you are prevented for some reason you cannot control (e.g., your ride did not show up, the church was at capacity).
  • If you have significant fear or anxiety of becoming ill by being at Mass.
I am unsure if the particular dispensations apply to me. What should I do?

For questions about the application of any of the circumstances warranting a dispensation, please contact your pastor or any priest.

Are masks and other safety precautions still required?

Effective May 19, 2021, those who are fully vaccinated may wear a face-covering and social distance but are no longer required to do so in churches.

Those who have not been fully vaccinated are to continue wearing face-coverings and to practice social distancing to protect themselves and others in churches. Because a parish community – and our society – requires mutual trust and a commitment to the common good, each individual is asked to make the best decisions for himself as well as for others. Parishes do not have the responsibility to verify who is and who is not vaccinated.

These directives will expire on June 27, 2021.

Are there still capacity restrictions at churches in the Archdiocese of Detroit?

Churches in the Archdiocese of Detroit are no longer required to limit attendance to any more than 50 percent capacity.

Each parish is to provide a portion of the church – with a size to be determined by the pastor – where social distancing and face-coverings are consistently maintained.

Will parishes add additional Masses to accommodate everyone who wants to attend Mass?

The Archdiocese is committed to assisting pastors to adjust Mass schedules or offer additional public Masses, insofar as possible, to make it easier for as many of the faithful as possible to attend Mass while still practicing social distancing. Rest assured that any Catholic who approaches a church and is turned away due to the church’s capacity having been reached, has faithfully fulfilled his obligation.

Will parishes still livestream Masses?

Parishes are encouraged to continue offering livestreams of their Masses to help nourish the souls of Catholics who cannot be present for Mass.

Might the general dispensation be reinstated if the pandemic worsens locally?

We continue to monitor the incidence of coronavirus in southeast Michigan and the effectiveness of our safety precautions. We will make any adjustments necessary in order to preserve the health and wellness of everyone in our community.

Why are Catholics normally obligated to attend Mass?

The command to keep holy the Lord’s day comes to us from God’s 10 Commandments to Moses (cf. Ex. 20:8-11). We have a moral obligation to honor the Lord’s Day – moved from Saturday in the Old Testament to Sunday by virtue of Jesus’s Resurrection from the dead on this day – which no law can invalidate. Always and everywhere, Christians are obliged to set Sunday apart for worship of God and as a day unlike others. The most salutary way we do this is by participating at Sunday Mass.

Therefore, the Sacred Liturgy, and particularly the Holy Eucharist, is the very heart and foundation of our Catholic faith. It is during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that the saving death and resurrection of Jesus are made present to us, our covenant with Our Lord is renewed, and God, in the person of Jesus Christ, comes to us and makes himself truly present for us in his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. It is an irreplaceable gift; a foretaste of Heaven itself. We know the challenges of the Christian life are great and we need nourishment and community to successfully “run the race” (cf. 2Tim. 4:7). Gathering at Mass on Sunday to hear God’s word and to offer our lives as spiritual worship (cf. Rm. 12:1) along with the Body and Blood of the Lord present on the altar are indispensable tools God gives us for our salvation.



Expired Directives and Guidelines
Click to read the guidelines and directives governing public Mass in the Archdiocese of Detroit during the COVID-19 pandemic
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Preparing for Phase I of Returning to Mass

It is prudent that we prepare for a gradual “opening” of our churches for the celebration of Mass. The suggestions and guidelines below are intended to assist pastors and parishioners in this task. A version of this document has also been distributed to all pastors in the Archdiocese of Detroit. The attention and cooperation of all the faithful in this preparation process will bear fruit for the parish and allow us collectively to do our part to avoid a severe “second wave” of the virus.

The dispensation from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass is granted to all the faithful through Sunday, November 22, 2020. See “Section V: Dispensation from Sunday Obligation” for more details.

Frequency of Masses

In accord with canon 905§2, all priests in the Archdiocese of Detroit are permitted to celebrate the Eucharist twice on weekdays and three times on Sundays and holy days of obligation (Archdiocesan faculty, 5). A “day” consists of 24 continuous hours beginning at midnight (cf., canon 202). Therefore, the Saturday vigil Mass does not “count” toward the limit of Masses celebrated on Sunday.

The universal law of the Church is silent on exceeding these limits, which, we surmise, are based out of a concern for the health and wellbeing of priests, that they not be overwhelmed with an inordinate number of Masses in a day. Nevertheless, these are extraordinary times and therefore priests are permitted to offer three Masses any weekday, if necessary for the community. Should any additional Masses be necessary, (such as a fourth Mass on Sunday) priests will need to seek the permission of the Regional Bishop.

General Information and Matters for Consideration

Those older than 65 years old (the recommended CDC age), with a compromised health condition or caring for the sick in any way, are encouraged to stay home. Anyone who is ill, has a temperature, cough, etc., should definitely stay home as an act of justice to the whole community. Clergy with a respiratory infection of any kind should avoid celebrating public Masses or administering the sacraments as they are able to do so during this phase. The same applies to other ministers, e.g., deacons, lectors, ushers, etc.

  1. Physical distancing is to be observed and signified by signs, tape, or other means. This includes both indoor and outdoor areas
    1. Masses offered indoors will be limited in attendance, depending on the guidelines set by public authorities. The faithful are asked to contact their parish for details about how to attend an upcoming Mass.
  2. Seating for the assembly: Mindful of the imposed allowed limitations and the physical layout of the church, parishes should clearly designate where seating is permitted (such as seating people in alternating pews with a 2-pew separation or seating in different sections for different Masses). See Section IV below.
    1. Those living in the same household may sit together without distancing
    2. For the distribution of Holy Communion, new patterns of approaching the altar might need to be configured to better allow for proper distancing.
    3. To the extent possible, those in line for Holy Communion should maintain a 6’ distance between each other and those in the pews.
    4. To the extent possible, the priest and ministers (deacon, lector, servers) should remain 6’ apart from each other.
  3. Signage
    1. Parishes reminding people to wear masks and to keep physical distance would be helpful, as well as signs to assist in the reception of Holy Communion.
    2. Parishes can mark the floor where people will line up to indicate proper spacing between persons.
  4. Disposable gloves are to be available for sacristans, those preparing the area and cleaning the area. Instructions for the proper removal of the gloves after each use are to be given/posted.
  5. Cloth face coverings (masks) are to be worn by everyone approaching church and inside church (except for those under 2 years old).
    1. The priest celebrant and other ministers need not wear masks or gloves during the liturgy given they are more than 6’ from the assembly during Mass.
  6. Collection: Baskets should not be passed from person to person. Other collection points (e.g. boxes) suitable for the faithful to drop in their offerings should be provided.
  7. Air circulation: Parishes should have the maximum fresh air as possible circulating within the building.
  8. Holy Water and Baptismal fonts remain empty.
  9. Music: Music is certainly important to our liturgical celebrations as it attempts to lift the soul and express our faith. Each parish needs to consider the following as we begin to return to Mass in limited numbers while observing the required physical distancing
    1. Because the faithful will be wearing masks, singing on the part of the assembly might prove challenging and ineffective.
    2. Health experts indicate that singing produces 6-10x more droplets from our mouths than recitation. Keeping singing for the assembly to a minimum is advised and the congregation should not remove their masks to sing.
    3. If there is a “choir” present, it should be as small as possible with each member spaced about 10’ apart.
    4. If worship aids are produced, they are to be used for only one Mass and then disposed of to avoid any possible contamination.
    5. The music minister singing the entrance and communion antiphon is a good option to incorporate music in our liturgies.
  10. Cleaning and Disinfecting: To help stop the spread of the virus, effective cleaning and disinfecting is essential. It is very important to be able to know the distinction between these two practices. It is also advisable to ensure that the products being used are effective in disinfecting as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency. Please visit here for important information regarding proper cleaning and sanitizing.
    1. Clergy, and others who assist, are to wash their hands before and after set-up for Mass as well as after Mass and clean up. Any and all vessels used at Mass must be cleaned with soap and warm water.
    2. Hand sanitizer is to be available in the sanctuary as needed during a liturgy. If possible, hand sanitizer should also be placed near the entrances of the church for the faithful. The faithful are invited to bring their own supply of hand sanitizer to use before Holy Communion.
    3. It is advisable to remove as much as possible from the pews, e.g., hymnals, missalettes, envelopes, to make it easier to clean and disinfect.
    4. Consider propping open all necessary doors to minimize touching of doors.
    5. After each liturgy, items used by the public should, e.g. door handles, rest rooms, be disinfected.
    6. If parishes do not have available maintenance staff for this level of cleaning, they could ask some healthy parishioners to help with this task after Mass.

In Open Air / Outdoor Masses

  1. As we approach more pleasant weather, and given the pastoral necessity, outdoor Masses are a good option.
    1. This can relieve the burden of parishes having to clean and sanitize a larger church space.
    2. Gathering outdoors may be of particular help for communities with small church buildings.
    3. Appropriate physical distance must exist for those not in the same household.
  2. The same precautions used for setting up for indoor Masses need to be followed for outdoor Masses, (e.g. washing hands).
  3. Any music for Mass outdoors follows the same guidelines as stated above.
  4. It is preferred to park cars at one location or on the streets and have participants sitting in their own chairs in a different location designated for Mass. This gives the gathered assembly better visibility to see the Mass directly, without having to look through car and truck windshields. This is mitigated if there is a substantially elevated platform which allows for reasonable visibility of the altar.
  5. The “seating arrangement” should be marked in a clear fashion or with the help of ushers. Participants should bring their own chairs, otherwise the parish will have to make provisions to sanitize parish-provided chairs.
  6. Care needs to be taken so that the sacred elements are protected from weather.
  7. Distribution of Holy Communion needs to be thought through and planned as with an indoor Mass, ensuring proper distancing as communicants wait in line. Distribution would follow the options as for the indoor Masses.
    1. In cases where faithful are in their cars, the communicants should exit their cars to receive Holy Communion, one at a time. From a health perspective, this is preferred because it permits the ministers to sanitize their hands as is necessary, just as with the indoor Mass. Walking from car to car, window to window, makes such hygiene difficult.

Matters Particular

  1. If the clergy are greeting people prior to or following Mass, he should wear a mask and greet in a physically distant way.
  2. A stand at the chair, or even on the altar, to hold the Missal for the presidential prayers should be used instead of having a server or deacon hold the Missal.
  3. A separate chalice is to be provided for the celebrant and each concelebrant and deacon.
    1. Alternatively, the priests could receive from the chalice through self-intinction.
    2. The minister receiving from the chalice should be the one responsible for purifying it.
  4. Ministers in the entrance procession should be single file and 6’ apart.
  5. The offertory procession should be omitted.
  6. The hosts to be consecrated for the faithful should be placed in a ciborium on a corporal towards the side of the altar. This allows the priest to proffer the words of consecration directly over the host he will consume, with the other hosts not directly in front of him as he prays the Eucharistic prayer.
  7. During the elevation of the sacred species concluding the Eucharistic prayer, if there is a deacon present, he may stand alongside the priest and elevate the chalice. Since this action is brief, he does not need to keep a 6’ distance.
  8. The invitation to exchange the Sign of Peace is to be omitted.
  9. Dismissal and Recessional
    1. Ministers recess in the same way as the beginning of Mass, in single file.
    2. To avoid large numbers leaving at the same time, consider dismissing the people one pew or one section at a time.
    3. If the priest is greeting people after Mass, he should wear a mask and greet in a physically distant way.
    4. All vessels are to be thoroughly purified and cleaned with soap and hot water after every Mass.

Distribution of Holy Communion

  1. At the start of Mass, and again at the time of Communion, the priest should explain how Holy Communion will be distributed.
  2. Distribution of the Precious Blood to the faithful is suspended at this time, nor should the lay faithful receive by intinction.
  3. In Masses with a small number of people, Communion should be distributed by the priest(s) and deacon.
    1. When capacities increase, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion need to be trained regarding these special procedures.
  4. The minister is to wash or sanitize his hands before distributing Holy Communion. He may also put on a mask.
    1. Holy Communion may not be distributed with gloves, nor may it be received in the hand if someone is wearing a glove. Instead, proper and diligent hand hygiene should be observed before and after distributing and/or receiving Holy Communion.
  5. The faithful should remove any masks and gloves as they approach the minster.
  6. If possible, a stand with a corporal and hand sanitizer should be at the place of distribution of Holy Communion.
  7. If possible, the reverence and the verbal exchange could take place 6’ away.
    1. Bow – “The Body of Christ” – “Amen” – then step forward to receive.
  8. The minister should take special care not to touch the faithful in any way (hand, tongue, etc.).
    1. If he does, he should pause, place the ciborium on the nearby table, sanitize his hands, and then proceed.
    2. It is not necessary to sanitize hands between each communicant unless physical contact is made.
  9. The faithful have a right to receive Holy Communion in the hand or on the tongue.
    1. Receiving Holy Communion on the tongue could cause concern for some parishioners following behind (in the line for Holy Communion) about spreading droplets to the fingers of the minister via breath.
    2. Options for handling this fear includes:
      1. Ask those receiving on the tongue to please receive last
      2. Have a designated minister for Holy Communion for those who wish to receive on the tongue
  10. Special provisions (such as those in need of low-gluten hosts, those unable to receive even low-gluten hosts, and Holy Communion to the homebound) should receive particular consideration from pastors.
  11. If the celebrant of the Mass is in a higher-risk group, a different priest, deacon, or EMHC may distribute Holy Communion.

Dispensation from the Sunday Obligation

As parishes prepare to begin having public Sunday Mass, all the faithful in the Archdiocese of Detroit are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass through Sunday, November 22, 2020.

Although the faithful are dispensed from their Sunday obligation to attend Mass, they must observe the Lord’s Day and are encouraged to spend time in prayer on Sunday, meditating on the Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection (an excellent way to do this is through participating in a broadcast of the Sunday Mass) or participating in a spiritual or corporal act of mercy. Parishes are encouraged to continue making their Masses available via live stream during this time, in order to maximize accessibility to the faithful.

As we enter this new phase of response, keep in mind that although Sunday Mass participation may not be available, weekday Mass will provide other opportunities to celebrate the Eucharist.

DIRECTIVES FOR RESUMPTION OF PUBLIC MASSES

Directrices para la reanudación de misas públicas

  1. At the discretion of the pastor, a parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit is permitted to resume public Masses on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 under the conditions below.
  2. Pride of place for attending these earliest Masses should be given to the Elect, Candidates for Full Communion, and those assisting these two groups for entrance into the Catholic Church. Directives for completion of RCIA and sacramental initiation of these groups will be forthcoming from the Office of Christian Worship.
  3. All parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit will resume public Mass by Friday, May 29, 2020 under the same conditions.
  4. Necessary conditions for the resumption of public Masses:
    1. Face-coverings/masks are to be worn by the faithful in and around the church.
    2. Cleaning and sanitizing of church facilities using proper techniques before or after Masses.
    3. Physical distancing is practiced in the church and on the church property.
    4. Parish churches are not to exceed 50 percent of total capacity for the church.
      1. This limit should allow people to remain at least six feet apart.
      2. Depending on church layout, this number may have to be less than 50 percent of the total capacity.
      3. An additional location on the church property (e.g. social hall, parking lot) may be used as an “overflow” for additional people desiring to attend public Mass.
        1. This should not exceed the same 50 percent capacity for the space.
        2. Both indoor and outdoor Masses require adherence to strict physical distancing guidelines.
  5. Funerals, Weddings, and Baptisms no longer require individual permission and may resume along the same timeline and under the same conditions as listed in #4 above.
  6. All non-liturgical gatherings should continue to be suspended. At the pastor’s discretion, exceptions may be made if attendees observe strict health and safety guidelines and the gathering does not exceed 10 persons at any one time.
  7. All the faithful in the Archdiocese of Detroit are dispensed from their Sunday obligation to attend Mass through Sunday, November 22, 2020.


Previous Updates
May 19, 2021 Update
May 19, 2021 Update:

In a letter to the faithful, Archbishop Vigneron shares the new COVID liturgical protocols for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

While some protocols are being relaxed, Archbishop Vigneron reminds us all to bear in mind our need to care for the common good and to exercise care and love for those who are most vulnerable among us.

Read about the new protocols below and click here to read Archbishop Vigneron's letter to the faithful.

For information about how our Catholic Schools are responding to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the State of MIchigan, visit detroitcatholicschools.org.

May 14, 2021 Update

The Centers for Disease Control recently issued new guidance that fully vaccinated people — during outdoor or indoor activities, large or small — do not need to wear masks or socially distance, with a few limitations. In response, the State of Michigan announced it will lift mask requirements for fully vaccinated individuals effective tomorrow morning.


Our COVID-19 Liturgical Committee, Department of Catholic Schools, and Human Resources Department need time to thoroughly and carefully review these updates to determine how they will impact our current practices in the parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit. While that review is underway, we will keep in place our current safety protocols this weekend and into next week for all parishes and schools, including face-coverings and social distancing protocol. We will communicate any revisions to our AOD guidelines when that review is completed early next week.

November 13, 2020 Update

In a letter to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Vigneron announced that due to the increasing numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in southeast Michigan, and the dramatic and dangerous rate at which positive cases are increasing, he has made the decision to extend the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation for people living in or visiting the Archdiocese of Detroit until Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Read Archbishop Vigneron's letter to the faithful here.

While the dispensation has been extended, our churches remain open and all guidelines for mask-wearing, social distancing and other precautions to help ensure the health and well-being of our communities remain in place.

November 4, 2020 Update

In accord with the “Gatherings and Face Mask Order” of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued on October 29, all non-liturgical gatherings in parishes cannot exceed 50 people per venue or 20 people per 1000 square feet.

Essential parish activities (religious education, youth ministry, and RCIA) are permitted and should follow the guidelines published by the Department of Catholic Schools found here.

Requirements for liturgical activities remain unchanged and should follow the liturgical guidelines found here.

October 9, 2020 Update

Public health officials at the state, county and city levels have issued orders this week related to public gatherings and safety protocols in light of the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision last Friday. Nothing in these orders changes our current requirements for liturgical gatherings including Mass, Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals, Confessions, and Eucharistic Adoration.

If changes need to be made regarding non-liturgical activities, further communication will be provided. Until that time, please continue to follow all established guidelines and directives (especially related to the need for indoor gatherings requiring masks) which have been issued from the Archdiocese of Detroit for the liturgy, non-liturgical gatherings, and Catholic schools.

October 5, 2020 Update

The Archdiocese of Detroit is aware of Friday, Oct. 2 ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court regarding the emergency powers of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The current safety precautions for parishes (below) and schools (click here) in the Archdiocese of Detroit were given under the authority of Archbishop Vigneron, taking into account expert advice from the medical community. Therefore, they are not affected by this ruling and they will remain in place until further notice.

September 30, 2020 Update

Pursuant to State of Michigan Executive Orders 183 and 185, all non-liturgical parish activities are permitted (with the pastor’s approval) provided they:

  1. Practice social distancing, regular cleaning, and face-coverings are worn.
  2. Maintain the following capacity restrictions:
    • Indoor events for no more than 20% seating capacity (for pre-arranged seating venues like gyms) or 20 people / 1000 sq. ft. for other indoor venues. No non-liturgical events are permitted for more than 500 people.
    • Outdoor events for no more than 30 people / 1000 sq. ft.

Other parish activities that have been deemed most essential (religious education, youth ministry, and RCIA) are permitted and should follow the guidelines published by the Department of Catholic Schools found here.

Requirements for liturgical activities remain unchanged and should follow the liturgical guidelines found here. It is good for parishes to reopen chapels of Eucharistic Adoration (if they are able) provided they follow liturgical guidelines.

August 14, 2020 Update

Archbishop Vigneron has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation for all the faithful in the Archdiocese of Detroit, as well as for all travelers during their time within the territory of the Archdiocese of Detroit, until Monday, November 23, 2020. While the dispensation from the grave obligation to attend Sunday Mass is in effect, all baptized Catholics are reminded of the grave necessity they have to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

July 30, 2020 Update

The changes in capacity restrictions announced by Governor Whitmer in Executive Order 2020-160, issued on Wednesday, July 29, do not impose a change on the six counties of the Archdiocese of Detroit; rather the Executive Order changes what was allowed in the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula and in the Upper Peninsula. For our portion of the state, indoor private gatherings remain capped at 10 persons.

Consistent with earlier orders, section 14 of this Executive Order states that “neither a place of religious worship nor its owner is subject to penalty under section 17 of this order for allowing religious worship at such place. No individual is subject to penalty under section 17 of this order for engaging in religious worship at a place of religious worship.”

Our current directives and guidelines, issued on June 22, and found immediately below, remain in effect.

June 22, 2020 Update

Phase Two of churches reopening goes into effect today, June 22, 2020. This next phase includes the following changes:

  1. Churches are permitted to seat up to 50 percent capacity provided that face-coverings are still worn and physical distancing between households can be maintained. Their total capacity should be less than 50 percent if this number cannot be obtained while maintaining physical distancing.
  2. Outdoor Masses are permitted without a capacity limit provided physical distancing can be maintained.
  3. Outdoor parish events (non-Mass) are permitted up to 100 people provided that physical distancing is maintained.
  4. With the permission of the pastor, non-liturgical gatherings may take place indoors if they observe strict health and safety guidelines, face-coverings are worn, and the gathering not exceed 10 persons.
June 8, 2020 Update

As we continue to review changing circumstances, advice from health experts, and local government orders in response to COVID-19, the following additions are made the AOD Liturgical Directives, effective June 8, 2020:

  • Face-coverings are not required for outdoor Masses, provided that physical distancing is maintained between households.
  • Outdoor parish events, meetings, and gatherings can take place for up to 100 people, provided that physical distancing is maintained between households.
April 30, 2020 Update: Directives

Español - Directrices litúrgicas durante el COVID-19

These directives are in place effective May 1, 2020 and remain in place until further notice.

Public Mass continues to be suspended until further notice.

If pastors are able to keep them clean, churches may be kept open and available for private prayer and intercession. Each pastor should determine the maximum number of people allowed in the church at any one time based on size, layout, ability to socially distance, and ability of the parish to clean the facility regularly.

Parish offices should remain closed and employees, as they are able, to work from home.

Weddings and Baptisms are permitted if certain criteria are met but require individual permission of each instance, with the exception of item 3 below.

  1. For weddings, the officiant should complete the form emailed to the priest to request permission.
  2. For baptisms, the presider should complete the form emailed to the priest to request permission.
  3. Where there is a danger of death, the individual should be baptized and (if it is a priest baptizing) confirmed.

Funerals are permitted under the following conditions:

In a Parish Church: A Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass may be celebrated with no more than 10 people present.

  1. This number should be strictly enforced by the pastor, with the assistance of the funeral director. If this small number cannot be adhered to, a priest should offer Funeral Masses without a congregation available to the family via livestream.
  2. All the faithful present should wear masks.
  3. Holy Communion is not to be distributed to the faithful during Funeral Masses. It is fitting to lead the faithful in a Prayer of Spiritual Communion at that time.
  4. Livestreaming of funerals is encouraged to allow more than the small number present to participate.

At a Catholic Cemetery: A Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass may be celebrated at a Catholic cemetery chapel or graveside.

  1. Clergy should follow and help enforce the number restrictions, health and safety guidelines, and proper social distancing practices of the cemetery.
  2. Many Catholic cemeteries have the capability for live-stream funerals from the cemetery chapel.
  3. Holy Communion is not to be distributed to the faithful during Funeral Masses. It is fitting to lead the faithful in a Prayer of Spiritual Communion at that time.

At Any Cemetery: Committal services may continue to be celebrated at any proper burial place pursuant to the guidelines of the cemetery.

Priests are to continue to celebrate Mass in private 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 Sacred Heart Major Seminary, where they can be fulfilled.

Parishes are encouraged to livestream Masses when they are able.

  1. A small number of the faithful is permitted to assist (liturgically or technologically) at the Mass. This number must remain less than 10, must be strictly enforced, and should only include those who are truly essential to support the livestreamed Mass.
  2. Those assisting with the Mass should wear masks, except when their speaking/singing prevents it.

Confessions are to be heard at the discretion of the priest. Priests should be generous in offering this sacrament to those who might be in grave sin. They should also take precaution for the welfare of the faithful and their own welfare, while at the same time protecting the sacramental seal. This includes, as best they are able:

  1. Proper social distancing as best you are able (six feet apart)
  2. A well-ventilated area for hearing confessions (even outside of the Church)
  3. The use of a mask by the penitent and the confessor.
  4. Consult the previous directive about Confession and General Absolution for more information.

Anointing of the Sick for those in need of the sacrament should be performed as the priest is able.

  1. Be sure to sanitize the oil stock before and after each anointing. Do not contaminate the sacred oil.
  2. You are also permitted to use a cotton ball, and not your thumb, to anoint the head. For each anointing, use a new cotton ball (or “Q-tips”) and new oil on the cotton. Be sure to properly burn the used cotton ball at a suitable time afterward.
  3. In the case of pastoral necessity, the hands do not need to be anointed.

Confirmations scheduled for the remainder of 2020 are suspended until further notice. Plans for their resumption will be examined at a later time.

Reception of RCIA Elect and Candidates for Full Communion in the Church will take place at a later date, hopefully in conjunction with Pentecost. If we are not able to celebrate their reception at that time, provisions will be made for them to be received on an individual basis at their parish church. These details – including information regarding scrutinies – will be forthcoming closer to Pentecost.

April 14, 2020 Update

Following Governor Whitmer’s recent Executive Order prolonging the “Stay Home, Stay Stafe" order and maintaining the prohibition of large gatherings, please note that if a priest or deacon would like to perform a small baptism or wedding during this time, that it could be possible. These weddings and baptisms must still respect proper social distancing AND that individual permission is required for each baptism or wedding.

March 17, 2020 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.

April 3, 2020 Update: Liturgical Guidelines and Holy Week

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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.

March 13, 2020 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.