For Pastors and Parishes

AOD COVID Policies

(updated February 10, 2021)

Liturgical Guidelines

  • Mass should be open to the faithful and others with attention to COV ID safety measures
    • 50% capacity
    • Social distancing
    • Mask requirements
    • Parishes are no longer required to clean and sanitize between each event in the church; instead, they are directed to follow CDC guidelines for “regular cleaning” of facilities.
    • Hand sanitizer should be regularly available throughout the church building
  • Other liturgical activities should be open to the faithful and others with same precautions above. These activities include
    • Confessions
    • Eucharistic Adoration
    • Prayer services (healing, intercessory prayer, Scripture services, etc.)
    • Anointing of the Sick (within Mass and outside of Mass)
    • Baptisms (within Mass and outside of Mass)
    • Weddings (within Mass and outside of Mass)
    • Funerals (within Mass and outside of Mass)
    • Confirmations (within Mass and outside of Mass)
    • Rites for RCIA (e.g. Rite of Election, Scrutinies)
    • Devotions and communal acts of popular piety (Novenas, Public recitation of the Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Devotion, St. Joseph Devotions, etc.)

Mission Direct Activities

  • Churches should be open to the faithful and others for private prayer as parishes are able.
  • The Church’s most essential non-liturgical aspects are able to meet in-person at the discretion of the pastor. After liturgical events, these should take priority for in-person events:
    • RCIA – preparing new Catholics
    • Faith Formation for school-age children
    • Youth Ministry events and meetings for middle-school and high-school age children
    • Faith Formation for adults
    • Encounter events – evangelization opportunities where Catholics and non-Catholics can hear the kerygma proclaimed and be invited to a deeper relationship with Christ.
    • Witness events – opportunities for the Catholic community to proclaim in word and deed the mercy of God. This includes Evangelical Charity (i.e. Christian Service) outreach.
  • Other Mission Direct activities are able to meet either digitally or in-person at the discretion of the pastor.
  • All mission direct activities are to follow the same COVID safety measures above.

Catholic Schools

Mission Support Activities

  • Parishes should follow direction from AOD Department of Human Resources related to opening for in-person Mission Support work. This includes the opening of parish offices.
  • Parish meetings should follow these principles of meetings virtually if possible, and meeting in-person only in they are not able to do their work virtually. This includes:
    • Parish Pastoral Council
    • Parish Finance Council
    • Parish Commissions
    • Parish Staff and Leadership Team meetings
    • Vicariate, Regional, and other inter-parish planning meetings

Holy Week and Adult Confirmations

Palm Sunday: March 28, 2021

Using all COVID-19 precautions, it is permissible to bless and distribute palms on Palm Sunday. The distribution of palms should take place as the faithful enter the Church. They may be handed a palm (ushers should wear gloves as well as mask) which will then be blessed during the Mass. The faithful are to be reminded to take their palm home with them; any left are to be collected and burned.

When ordering palms, consider that the maximum number in attendance is 50% of Church capacity. Also, many Churches are not meeting that capacity, so the number of palms ordered will be much less than previous years.

Chrism Mass: April 1, 2021

The Chrism Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 am at the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. Because of the 50% capacity in place (350 persons) due to COVID restrictions, this Mass will not be open to the public. Priests are invited to attend or, if they are not able to attend, to send one representative from their parish (could be a couple who does not need to social distance from each other). The Holy Oils will be distributed after Mass as usual. Other COVID restrictions for the Mass, including masks, will be required.

Adult Confirmations

Archbishop Vigneron will not be confirming adults on Pentecost at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral this year. Instead, any priest who has faculties from the Archbishop is given permission to confirm any Catholic – along with the Elect and Candidates for Full Communion as usual – at the Easter Vigil this year. This expands the faculties given in the pagella. If a Catholic is not able to attend the Easter Vigil this year, priests will need to request and receive permission to perform these Confirmations at another time.

Other information for the Sacred Triduum this year will be shared as it becomes available from the Holy See and the USCCB.