Those are among the guidelines from the Vicar General this morning, whose letter to pastors reads, in part:

Reconciliation Monday, since it normally attracts large numbers who might congregate in groups, is cancelled. However, the faithful should be made aware that priests are available for confessions, as needed, throughout the Lenten Season and through this crisis.

The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick may be administered to individuals as needed, exercising prudence and common sense when interacting with people. Priests who visit the sick who may have the COVID-19 virus or who are in isolation or quarantine must take necessary and extra precautions. When administering the Anointing of the Sick, “an instrument” may be used instead of the thumb. This could be done by wearing a glove and using some cotton. (Steps to avoid contaminating the oil stock should be taken: applying oil to the cotton ball before entering the room, leaving the oil stock outside and retrieving it later. The cotton should be isolated and contained to be disposed of reverently, for example, by burning or burying).

Confirmations scheduled up until May 15 are to be postponed. We will revisit the question of rescheduling Confirmations. If the situation allows, the Bishop will be granting the indult as usual for Pentecost. First Communion celebrations should be postponed.


Pastors should inform Bulletin companies to print fewer copies of the parish bulletins for the time being and making use of the space in the bulletins for catechesis and the printing of prayers, reflections, etc. Bulletins should be posted on parish websites. Mass intentions should be listed without the times of the Masses, as they will not be public.

All parish meetings should be cancelled as well as parish events. The general principle here is that gatherings of persons should be avoided. AA meetings may take place if there are less than 10 persons, always observing social distancing practices. Food pantries may remain open to serve people, perhaps limiting the numbers of people entering the premises, a few at a time. Parishes holding blood drives should consult with the organization sponsoring the drive to determine the best practices.


As there will be no masses celebrated publicly on Palm Sunday, if desired, blessed palms could be left on tables in church for any who might stop in and take some themselves.

The Chrism Mass will NOT be celebrated publicly. The Bishop will celebrate the Mass from the Cathedral and the oils will be available for distribution at designated sites around the diocese. Further information about that will be forthcoming. 

Holy Week Services and Liturgies will not be celebrated publicly in the parishes. There are NOT to be any public celebrations, even outside. Easter sacraments for RCIA candidates and catechumens are to be postponed. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, and the Easter Vigil will be celebrated by the Bishop in the Cathedral without a congregation and will be broadcast for the benefit of the faithful in their homes.