UPDATED JUNE 4, 2020
As the Archdiocese of Denver continues to work to balance protecting the health and safety of our communities with ministering to the spiritual needs of our faithful, we have released updated guidelines for parishes for celebrating public Masses during this current public health pandemic.
The Archdiocese has worked with health experts, elected officials, and our priests, deacons, and parish staffs, to develop these protocols.
How the guidelines are implemented will vary parish to parish based on a number of factors including parish size, available facilities, and county-specific health orders. Please learn how your parish is operating during this time before going to a public Mass.
These guidelines are effective June 2, 2020. Below is an updated Q&A on the revised guidelines.
A dispensation from the Sunday and Holy Day obligation to participate in the Mass remains in place for all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Denver until further notice. Anyone who is in an at-risk health group or does not feel comfortable attending a public gathering should stay home. Even with the best health practices and increased efforts to clean the Church, there is a risk of infection anytime a person enters a public space. Anyone who is sick or has recently been exposed to the coronavirus should refrain from attending a public Mass as it is an act of Christian charity to safeguard the health of others.
Attendance at Masses is being incrementally increased but will still be restricted to ensure proper social distancing. Capacity for services will be determined by the number of people who can be safely distanced from each other in any space and will be capped at 25 percent of a facility’s fire code. Because the Sunday obligation has been dispensed, people are encouraged to take advantage of weekday Masses. Each parish will determine its own scheduling and attendance procedures to try and create a fair opportunity for every parishioner to attend Mass. It is important that you stay connected to your parish via the parish website, email, Flocknote, etc. Catholics should continue to keep the Sabbath holy with intentional time in prayer including engagement in the readings for the day, which may be enhanced through watching a pre-recorded or live stream Mass and making spiritual communion.
Social distancing will be practiced at all public Masses, and everyone is asked to follow the guidance of any usher or posted sign. Parishioners can expect for rows/pews to be roped off and for there to be a structured dismissal by section. Families who live together can sit together, but should be spaced more than 6-feet from other families.
Everyone is asked to wear a mask (except children 3 and under), and parishioners are encouraged to bring their hand sanitizer and/or sanitizing wipes.
There will also be TEMPORARY liturgical changes similar to those implemented during the early stages of this pandemic back in February and March. For those receiving Holy Communion, please follow the instructions of your pastor for lining up and receiving in a safe manner.
Archbishop Aquila has granted a ‘Dispensation of Place’ for parishes to be able to utilize other spaces for Masses including gymnasiums, parish halls and outdoor spaces. Parishioners are asked to avoid congregating in entry ways and should be mindful of social distancing in narrow hallways, bathroom entrances, etc., especially if multiple spaces are being utilized.
We all long for the day when we can gather as a full parish family, hug our friends, and praise the Lord together, but until that time comes, let’s continue to act out of love and charity towards each other, and all do our part to keep our communities as safe and healthy as possible.
Please be patient as your pastor and parish staffs do their best to implement this guidance, especially if you have to wait a little longer for your turn to attend a public Mass.
We have all made many sacrifices over the last several months to benefit the common good, let’s not have those efforts be in vain if we rush this process or look for ways around the regulations.
Let’s keep our trust in the Lord, to see this through until we can gather again in full.
Before you return to Mass
When you return to Mass