COVID-19 Policies

DIOCESE MOVES CLOSER TO PRE-PANDEMIC NORMAL

Archdiocese ImagesStatement of the Bishops of the Province of Baltimore and the Archdiocese of Washington

Lifting the General Dispensation from the Obligation to Attend Mass

"We, the Catholic Bishops of the Province of Baltimore and the Archdiocese of Washington, give thanks to Almighty God for the progress our country has made in curbing the coronavirus pandemic. The average number of new cases of COVID-19 continues to decline due to the observance of safety protocols and the increase of the availability of the vaccine. At this time, many places in our region are enjoying a return to some sense of normalcy. 


Therefore, we are lifting the dispensation of the Sunday and Holy Days Mass obligation in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Dioceses of Arlington, Richmond, Wheeling-Charleston, and Wilmington and reinstating that obligation beginning on Saturday, June 26, 2021, and Sunday, June 27, 2021. We welcome and encourage the Faithful to return to full in-person participation of the Sunday Eucharist, the source and summit of our Catholic faith (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 1246-1247, and Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2180).


This obligation does not apply to those who are ill; those who have reason to believe that they were recently exposed to the coronavirus, or another serious or contagious illness; those who are confined to their home, a hospital, or nursing facility; or those with serious underlying health conditions. One should consult his or her local pastor if questions arise about the obligation to attend Mass (canon 1245 and Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2181). 


Safety protocols and other liturgical directives in each diocese remain in effect until modified or revoked by the respective Diocesan Bishop.   


Let us continue to be united in prayer for one another and for an end to the global pandemic." 


Given on June 2, 2021 


Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory 
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Washington
Most Reverend William E. Lori 
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Baltimore 
Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge 
Bishop, Diocese of Arlington 
Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout
Bishop, Diocese of Richmond
Most Reverend Mark E. Brennan 
Bishop, Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston
Most Reverend William Francis Malooly
Apostolic Administrator, Diocese of Wilmington

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Effective May 28, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge has given permission for parishes to remove most of the pandemic restrictions including social distancing. The May 25 announcement comes after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued new guidelines that go into effect the same day. 

“By God's grace, we are nearing the end of this pandemic as the number of new cases in Virginia is continuing to rapidly decline and more people are receiving the vaccine each day,” the diocese said on its webPastesite in an announcement that included a guide to Mass for the lay faithful.

Going forward, all parishes are encouraged to return to the pre-COVID schedules for Masses, adoration and access to the parish. There is no occupancy limit on Mass attendance, no social distancing and no required disinfecting or cleaning between Masses. During the liturgy, there can be full choirs, holy water, a procession, an offertory collection and the sign of peace between members of the same household. As before, only the precious Body will be offered during Communion. 

Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a face mask in church. Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to continue wearing a face mask, though priests will not ask parishioners about their vaccination status or stop unmasked people from entering the church. 

The dispensation from attending Mass each Sunday remains in place. Diocesan schools will continue to operate on a separate set of guidelines, in accordance with state regulations, such as required mask wearing. 

All public Masses in the diocese were suspended by Bishop Burbidge March 16, 2020 to slow the spread of the coronavirus. By July 1, all parishes were able to resume Mass with limitations, including capacity restrictions, social distancing and face masks. Many parishes began livestreaming Masses to parishioners' homes and sometimes overflow rooms at the parish. Before Holy Week of this year, more restrictions were lifted. Missals and hymnals returned to pews and small choirs were able to sing. 

“Bishop Burbidge is grateful for your prayers during these challenging times,” the diocesan announcement concluded. “Through the intercession of Mary Our Mother and Saint Joseph, may Our Lord continue to bless this great Diocese.” 

Live-Stream Masses

If you're not yet comfortable coming back to Sunday Mass, we invite you to participate in our live-stream Masses each Sunday at 10:30 am. You can also participate in our daily live-stream Masses at 10:00 am throughout the week.

 

Participate in Live-Stream Mass

 

Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Amen.

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