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Covid-19 Guidelines

for Celebrating the Mass

High-Risk Conditions

COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:

  • People 65 years and older (it does not mean that people above 65 years cannot attend)

  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

  • People who have serious heart conditions

  • People who are immuno-compromised

    • Many conditions can cause a person to be immuno-compromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of cortico-steroids and other immune weakening medications.

  • People with severe obesity (body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher)

  • People with diabetes

  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis

  • People with liver disease

Q & A on the guidelines for resuming public worship in the Diocese of Owensboro

We all long for the day when we can gather with our entire parish community for the celebration of the Eucharist. We value the communal nature of the Mass and we know that when any part of our community is missing, the celebration is lacking.  However, we are also aware of our obligation to respect the dignity of every human life.  Because of this, and out of a sense of Christian charity, we must celebrate the Mass with restrictions for the time being.  Please be patient as your pastor and parish staffs do their best to implement this guidance. 

When will the public celebration of Mass resume in the Diocese of Owensboro?

  • Public Masses may be celebrated in the Diocese of Owensboro beginning .

  • Not all parishes will be able to celebrate Mass as early as May 20 due to the age or health of the pastor or because of the parish’s inability to meet the guidelines for public worship.This determination will be left up to the discretion of the pastor.


Who may participate in the celebration of public Mass?

  • Bishop Medley has extended, until further notice, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.Therefore, no one is required to attend Mass on Sunday or Saturday evening.

  • Those who are considered to be at risk and those who may feel uncomfortable attending a public Mass should worship from home.Parishes that are able will continue to live stream the Mass.

  • As an act of Christian charity to safeguard the health of others, those who are ill or who may have been recently exposed to the coronavirus should refrain from attending public Mass.

  • Since the obligation is dispensed, Catholics who would like to attend Mass are encouraged to consider going to Mass on a weekday in order to lessen the crowd on Sunday.


What will the celebration of Mass look like during the time of COVID-19?

  • Six feet of physical distancing will need to be maintained between all of the faithful except for those who live in the same home.

  • In order to facilitate physical distancing, each church may accommodate only 33% of its capacity.Expect to see some pews roped off.Please check with your parish to determine if there is an attendance reservation plan in place.

  • Everyone should wear a face mask except for children under the age of 2.If individuals are uncomfortable or children are not mature enough to wear a mask for the entire liturgy, they may consider worshiping from home.

  • The presider will wear a mask while in procession and during the distribution of Holy Communion.At all other times, he will maintain a distance of six feet from other ministers.

  • The sign of peace will either be omitted or will be given in a non-physical manner such as with a bow of the head.

  • Holding hands during the Our Father should be done only by those who live in the same home.

  • There will be no communal singing.

  • Cry rooms will be unavailable.

  • The collection basket will not be passed but will be kept in a stationary location.

  • Holy water fonts will remain empty.

  • At the conclusion of the Mass, people will depart by pews to avoid a bottleneck at the doors.

  • There should be no gatherings either before or after Mass.


How will we receive Holy Communion?

  • Since Bishop Medley has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday, there is no obligation to receive Holy Communion.

  • For those who choose to receive Holy Communion, six feet of distance must be maintained in the Communion procession.

  • The face mask should be worn while in procession and removed only long enough to receive Holy Communion.

  • The practice of the faithful receiving Communion on the tongue is suspended.Holy Communion will be given in the hand only.

  • The practice of the faithful receiving the Precious Blood is suspended.


What other precautions are being taken to mitigate the spread of the virus?

  • The worship space and high traffic areas will be cleaned and sanitized after each Mass.

  • Hymnals and missalettes are removed from the pews.

  • Bathrooms are limited to one person at a time and will be cleaned after each Mass.


What about weddings and funerals?

  • Effective May 20, 2020 weddings and funerals may be celebrated in our parishes while adhering to these guidelines.

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