Covid Decree Update
Extending the Decree of 31 March 2020 on Pastoral Activities in the Diocese of Jefferson City
During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In light of the recent guidance from the United States Federal Government and the Governor of the State of Missouri regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, I hereby declare that the DECREE of 31 March 2020 on pastoral activities in the Diocese of Jefferson City during the COVID-19 pandemic shall remain in force with the following modifications:
- All the faithful of the Diocese of Jefferson City, and those who are present in the territory of the Diocese, are dispensed until 30 June 2020 from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
- Public celebrations of Mass, other liturgies, and devotions shall continue to be expressly forbidden through 3 May 2020, in accordance with the Governor’s recent extension of the state-wide stay at home order, and whenever prohibited by legitimate local governmental authorities thereafter. When public gatherings are permitted by the proper county health director or legitimate state authorities, the celebration of Mass and other liturgical or devotional activities may resume within the specified county or region of the state and only in accord with the authority’s social distancing regulations. Regardless, the offertory procession, the sign of peace, the holding of hands at the Our Father, and Communion from the chalice shall continue to be suspended. One or more stationary collection baskets are to be used rather than the passing of baskets or having ushers take up the collection. Holy water fonts shall remain empty. Communion ministers are to sanitize their hands before and after distributing Holy Communion. Furthermore, if a legitimate county or state authority resumes a stay-at-home order anytime thereafter, the
public celebrations of Mass, liturgies or devotions shall again be expressly forbidden for as long as the legitimate governmental authority determines.
- When the public celebration of Mass, other liturgies, and devotions are prohibited, private celebrations may take place with no more than the number of people allowed by the county health director or legitimate state official, and only in accordance with the social distancing regulations. Apart from the clergy celebrants, those in attendance at private celebrations are encouraged not to present themselves for Holy Communion. Parishes are highly encouraged to live stream these liturgies and devotions, especially the Sunday liturgies.
- The Distribution of Holy Communion outside of Mass is prohibited, except for the Last Rites, unless the public celebration of Mass has resumed.
- When the public celebration of Mass is prohibited, the Anointing of the Sick and the Sacrament of Confession may be offered on an individual basis (i.e., no communal celebrations), as long as the proper protocols previously communicated are followed (see nos. 7 & 8 of the 31 March 2020 Decree).
- Wherever and whenever the county health director or legitimate state authority issues a stay at home order, Funeral Rites may be celebrated with no more than the number of people allowed by the legitimate state official and only in accordance with the social distancing regulations.
- Wherever and whenever the county health director or legitimate state authority issues a stay at home order, weddings should be rescheduled for a later time. However, wedding liturgies may take place with no more than the number of people allowed by the legitimate state official and only in accordance with the social distancing regulations.
- Pastors and parochial vicars have the delegated faculty from the Diocesan Bishop to confirm those candidates who have been properly prepared for the sacrament, in accordance with diocesan policy, and only if the scheduled Confirmation Mass with the bishop has been canceled because of the pandemic. The celebration of Confirmation may only take place when the public celebration of Mass has resumed (see no. 2) and the social distancing regulations of legitimate state authority allow. It is highly encouraged that this celebration take place at one or more Masses on Pentecost Sunday or its Vigil (if public Masses are allowed then), or at any Sunday or Saturday Vigil parish Mass thereafter (when allowed).
- All other in-person meetings or gatherings greater than the number of people allowed by the county health director or legitimate state authorities are strictly prohibited, whether indoors or outdoors. Social distancing regulations must always be followed. Outdoor or indoor playground equipment shall not be open for use when prohibited by legitimate county or state authorities.
This decree is effective from 1 May 2020 and until 30 June 2020, anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at the Chancery of the Diocese of Jefferson City on this 17th day of April 2020.
The Most Reverend W. Shawn McKnight, STD Bishop of Jefferson City
Mrs. Constance Schepers, Chancellor