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Covid Decree Update

DECREE

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:

  1. 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