Parishes in the Jefferson City diocese are taking steps toward life after COVID-19, but vigilance remains necessary to prevent a new surge of infections.
Therefore, the dispensation from in-person attendance at Mass on Sundays and holydays remains in effect.
Those who do not attend Mass are to participate prayerfully in Mass by livestream, or meditate on the Sunday readings and pray the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet.
A Prayer for a Communion of Desire is published at the end of this article.
Meanwhile, Bibles, hymnals and prayer resources may be returned to church pews, and holy water may be returned to the fonts under a March 12 decree from Bishop W. Shawn McKnight.
People who enter churches and chapels must still be encouraged to wash or sanitize their hands frequently, and pews and other frequently touched surfaces shall be cleaned and disinfected at least daily.
Holy water fonts are to be emptied and cleaned at least daily.
Social gatherings may take place on Church properties as early as June 1, with proper safeguards in place and in keeping with the directives of local health officials.
Parishes and schools are encouraged to delay such events until late summer to avoid the need to cancel them if local circumstances require it.
The full text of the March 12 decree can be found on Page 2.
Holy Week and Easter
Bishop McKnight also promulgated a decree March 5 regarding the observance of Lent, Holy Week and Easter.
In it, he extends all previous dispensations, obligations and guidance of his decrees of Aug. 21 and Nov. 11, 2020, with several exceptions.
Parish communal penance services and other seasonal services may be celebrated while following all the normal protocols for social distancing and/or the wearing of face coverings.
Blessed palms may be distributed on Palm Sunday as part of the commemoration of the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem. Care should be taken that this distribution is done with safety precautions.
The ceremonial Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday is to be omitted this year, as is the kissing of the cross by anyone but the priest on Good Friday.
A special prayer for an end to the pandemic should be prayed as part of the Solemn Intercessions on Good Friday.
The full text of the March 5 decree, including more specific directives, can be found on Page 15.