Coronavirus Resources and Information
Guidelines for Celebration of Mass and Holy Communion
Consistent with CDC, state, and local guidance, masks are now required to be worn by any person inside churches or religious facilities in the District of Columbia as well as Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Charles counties in Maryland. Please note that individual parishes may choose to have additional precautions in place, as well as continue live-streaming their Masses.
Below are updated guidelines for the celebration of Mass and Holy Communion. Please note that these guidelines are also applicable to other parish liturgical events such as weddings, funerals and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Health and Hygiene Considerations:
- Liturgical celebrations no longer need to abide by capacity restrictions.
- In the District of Columbia as well as Montgomery, Prince George’s and Charles counties in Maryland, the use of masks while gathered indoors is now required for all individuals. There is no requirement to check vaccination status.
- The use of masks by ordinary and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion while distributing Holy Communion, vaccinated and non-vaccinated, is still required during the distribution.
- Per archdiocesan policy, social distancing is still required between individuals from separate households for indoor gatherings as follows: Pastors are permitted to reduce distancing to 3 feet for indoor celebrations (which may allow the use of all rows) if they feel it would be beneficial. Pastors may also choose to set aside a section of the church that maintains 6-foot distancing for those who wish to maintain more social distancing.
Visit the Media Portal to view the latest statements regarding the coronavirus released by the Archdiocese of Washington.
The Catholic Standard will also continue to provide information as updates are available.
Messages from Cardinal Gregory
The dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass during the pandemic has been lifted, effective June 26, 2021. Read the joint statement from Cardinal Gregory and the bishops of the Province of Baltimore.
“Our transition back to in-person worship is a long-awaited moment. The bishops of our region have given careful consideration as to how we can move forward together, respecting the autonomy of each local Church. Because we live in communities close to one another, we felt it best to approach the restoration of in-person worship on a united front. Our people have been so patient and cooperative with the procedures that were designed to protect us from the virus that we could not be more grateful for the spirit of genuine concern for everyone in our parishes. As we start to return to worship practices that were set aside, let us praise God for all those who helped to develop and who continue to administer the vaccines that seem to be working for the good of society. It will be a special blessing to gather around the Lord’s Altar as the Family of Faith that we are called to be.”
Catholic Schools Information
The Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools Office has written a letter to parents summarizing updates in safety information for the 2021-2022 school year. Click here to read the letter.
For more about your school’s campus operating status, contact your school directly, visit your school website, and follow your school on social media.
Worship and Prayer Resources
The dispensation issued by Cardinal Gregory from the obligation to attend Mass during the pandemic has been lifted, effective June 26 and June 27, 2021. Read the joint statement from Cardinal Gregory and the bishops of the Province of Baltimore.
The following resources have been developed to help parishes and individuals continue to provide and to participate in pastoral ministry, prayer and outreach. These resources were created at various times since Spring 2020. Since civil guidelines and restrictions are developing, always follow the most recent guidance on social and physical distancing.
Individual and Family Resources
- Guide to celebrating Mass online when sick or homebound: English | Spanish
- How to hold a prayer service at home: English | English B&W version| Spanish | French
- Resources for live-streaming events in your parish
- How to host a small group online: English | Spanish
- Guide for parishes to make phone calls to parishioners (Updated November 2020): English PDF | English Word Doc. | Spanish PDF | Spanish Word Doc.
- The Church on Call: Accompanying Parishioners through Phone Calls during Times of Separation (co-produced with the Catholic Apostolate Center): Webinar
- Top ten tips for pastoral ministry during COVID-19: English
Health, Safety and Vaccine Information
There have been many conversations within the Catholic community about the safety and morality of COVID-19 vaccines. The Archdiocese of Washington supports and affirms the statement published on March 2, 2021 by the USCCB.
We have provided answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine to help clarify Catholic moral teaching on this matter.