ARCHDIOCESE ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL LITURGICAL GUIDELINES; CALLS FOR TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF CHURCHES AMID COVID-19 PANDEMIC
–Churches Asked to Ring Bells Daily as Sign of Solidarity and Hope at Noon 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.–
In continued commitment to reducing the spread of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), the Archdiocese of Los Angeles today announced further liturgical guidelines for Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese, including the closure of all churches to the public until further notice.
“Our community of faith is fully committed to doing all we can to limit the spread of this global public health threat,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez. “We are taking these extraordinary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the faithful and the public, as well as all who continue to serve in our parishes and ministries. While our church buildings are temporarily closing during this crisis, our local Church is very much alive and continues to serve and share the Word of God. I encourage all Catholics to continue to pray and join in communion for the celebration of Holy Mass remotely via the internet, television or radio.”
“I am also calling on all parishes that are able to ring their bells at 12 noon and 6 PM daily as a sign of solidarity and hope. Now more than ever, we must continue to anchor our hearts and minds in the abiding truth of God’s love for us, His sons and daughters. We remain strong in faith knowing that God will be with us always.”
The additional accommodations to the liturgical guidelines were added to those previously instituted by the Archdiocese to help priests perform their ministries while continuing to adhere to the recommended state and local preventive recommendations and orders. The guidelines also address funerals and the celebration of Holy Week and Easter.
SUMMARY OF ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES ADDED TODAY (Full guidelines available online and attached):
- Parish churches, chapels, centers, and missions are to be closed to the public effective March 24, 2020 until April 19, 2020 (inclusive), or until further notice.
- Church offices are to be closed to the public. Pastors may allow a minimal number of parish staff members (less than 10) to continue working in the office provided that social distancing is observed.
- Parishes equipped with a bell system are invited to ring their church bells at 12 p.m. (noon) and 6 p.m. as a sign of solidarity and hope, in accordance with city noise ordinances.
- The public celebration of Mass has been suspended in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles until April 19, 2020 (inclusive), or until further notice. Priests are encouraged to continue celebrating Mass for their faithful, but in the form of a “Private Mass” (i.e. without a congregation) in their church or chapel to be livestreamed. One or two ministers may assist the Priest.
- Parishes are invited to inform their parishioners of opportunities to view Mass or other services via livestream. The weekday and Sunday Masses will be livestreamed from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels via the LA Catholics Facebook page, [facebook.com/lacatholics]facebook.com/lacatholics. For more information on additional Mass broadcasts on TV and radio, visit lacatholics.org/mass-for-the-homebound.
- Parishes are to cancel all Lenten penance services and suspend all regularly scheduled confession times.
- Priests may offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation in danger of death or extremely extraordinary situations, in which case, parishioners are to make an appointment with the priest. Please observe social distancing, while at the same time ensuring privacy for the penitent.
ANOINTING OF THE SICK
- Priests are to attend to the needs of those who ask for the Anointing of the Sick. If a priest is sick or considered to be a high-risk individual (e.g. above 65 years of age, suffers from respiratory conditions, immunocompromised, etc.), he should request assistance from another priest.
- Priests attending to the needs of the sick are to observe all proper sanitary protocols. If in a hospital setting, check-in with proper medical personnel and follow their directions before entering and upon leaving the room of the patient. For home visits, this includes but may not be limited to handwashing before and after the visit, wearing gloves, a facemask, and a gown to cover clothes.
- If desired by the person requesting the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, priests may hear the confession of the sick person and grant individual absolution.
- For the time being, sick calls and distribution of Holy Communion for the homebound are reserved to be done by priests only.
- Unless an emergency, the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism is to be postponed, including those which customarily take place at the Easter Vigil.
- The celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony from now until April 19, 2020 (inclusive), or until further notice, are to be postponed.
- The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation from now until April 19, 2020 (inclusive), or until further notice, are postponed. The Office of the Confirming Prelate will contact parishes with Confirmations scheduled during the affected dates. Rescheduling will be handled at a later time.
FUNERALS (Full Catholic Cemeteries & Mortuaries Guidelines can be found here)
- Funerals may take place only in the form of “The Rite of Committal with Final Commendation” (also known as the “graveside service”) at the Cemetery. If desired by the family, a memorial Mass can be scheduled appropriately at a later date.
- It is recommended that pastors notify family members who have already scheduled funeral Masses.
- Archbishop Gomez will celebrate the Chrism Mass in the Cathedral on April 6, 2020. Instead of attending, priests and the faithful are encouraged to view the Cathedral’s livestream of the Mass. Additionally, the Archbishop will celebrate the liturgies of the Sacred Paschal Triduum at the Cathedral that will also be livestreamed. Catholics are encouraged to join remotely via livestream or other broadcasts on television and radio. For a full listing of available broadcasts visit: https://lacatholics.org/mass-for-the-homebound/.
- The annual Blessing of the Animals Celebration at Olvera Street has been postponed.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the largest Catholic Archdiocese in the United States with approximately five million Catholics, serving the three counties of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara. For the latest news, events and to subscribe for media alerts visit media.la-archdiocese.org. Follow us on social media using @LACatholics on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Video footage and photographs (credit: Angelus News) of Masses celebrated by Archbishop José H.Gomez are also available.