Resources for Reopening Churches

Part of the “In Time of Pandemic” collection of resources

See more: “In Time of Pandemic” Index ·

FDLC Synopsis

Twelve-page guidelines for the reopening of churches and the resumption of public Masses. This document is merely offered as a template for diocesan liturgical commissions and task forces who have been charged with preparing guidelines for the Local Church.  It suggests best practices and sample verbiage. Your own diocesan guidelines may have better ideas or alternative policies.  Always, state and federal government guidelines will play a part. These, too, may be updated regularly by medical experts and civil authorities.

This document is a compilation of sound liturgical principles as found in the liturgical texts. It draws upon recent data from regional conference calls, webinars, and meetings. We have listened to your concerns and noted your ideas. 

This document does not pretend to present chapter and verse on every relevant civil, canonical, or liturgical law; but it will contain general principles, some medical data, and proposed safety measures. It merely offers issues for your consideration.  Perhaps it will raise more questions than give answers, but I hope it will be a guide for your own diocesan and parish discussions.

The scope of this document is limited to the celebration of the Mass.  It does not address other sacramental rites. Finally, this document does not pretend to legislate. Only a diocesan Bishop may produce directives for his (arch)diocese and he will do that in broad consultation with his councils, commissions, and lay experts as well as civil authorities.

Resources from around the country

“Restoring Masses with a Congregation” webinar / Tony Varas, Diocese of Metuchen — Preparing for a phased-in approach post the COVID-19 sheltering at home. This webinar is for lay and ordained parish ministers. Since each parish will have a different approach, the webinar will share the key things to consider when developing your parish plan. 🌎 Visit website

Road Map to Re-Opening Our Catholic Churches Safely / Catholic Medical Association — Identifies safest practices for attending Mass, receiving Communion, and confessions. Prepared by members of the Ad Hoc Committee of Catholic Doctors in May 2020. 📄 Download PDF

Worship Services and Religious Gatherings Reopening Guidelines / American Industrial Hygiene Association — Expert, industry-specific guidance for both businesses and consumers to safely re-open and re-engage as they emerge from the COVID-19 quarantines. Prepared by members of AIHA, the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety. 📄 Download PDF (English) / 📄 Download PDF (Español) 🇪🇸🇲🇽

How Can We Keep from Singing / Patrick Gorman, Diocese of Madison — Research is showing that singing raises the risk of passing on the coronavirus and for that reason, restricting singing in churches is the proper response at this time. 📄 Download PDF

The Latest Science on COVID-19 and Singing / Jerry Hui, University of Wisconsin-Stout — This article tracks and summarizes the primary research on singing and choral teaching, in order to provide scientific evidence for organizations in an uncertain time. 🌎 Visit website

Diocesan Guidelines for the Reopening of Churches

Gradually and cautiously, the country is “re-opening” in phases. Many of you have been tasked with creating diocesan policies regarding the re-opening of churches and the resumption of public Masses. Below, please find samples from various (arch)dioceses, simply listed in alphabetical order. Of course, these may be subject to revision as states progress in their reopening. Please check the particular diocese’s website for more information and directives.  

Published by FDLC

Since 1970, the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions has served the clergy and faithful of the dioceses of the United States by providing leadership, scholarship, and resources to aid in the authentic implementation and celebration of the liturgy.

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