Liturgical Guidelines

April 21, 2021 Update

Effective April 21, 2021, Bishop Johnston concludes all particular law liturgical directives as well as the small/large group gatherings protocols (Bible studies, prayer groups, coffee/doughnuts, parish meals, summer camps, VBS, etc.) issued from March 2020 through March 2021 due to the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic EXCEPT the following:

  • Local County/City health directives (for examples, mask wearing and/or six feet physical distancing) to be observed. For the city of Kansas City currently, this continues to require masks and appropriate distancing between households.
  • Currently the general dispensation from the obligation to participate in Masses on Sundays and holy days of obligation continues; however, this is likely to change in the not-too-distant future.
  • The sign of peace remains optional. If it is offered, there is to be no physical contact.  A simple gesture, such as a nod of the head, is recommended.
  • Priests/Deacons/Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, even in jurisdictions without a mask requirement due to covid protocols, are expected to wear a mask for distribution of Holy Communion at Masses, hospitals, nursing homes, and home visits in charity and love of neighbor.
  • If there is only one, two or three concelebrating priests, there may be a discussion prior to Mass beginning, particularly of those who reside together, whether or not the concelebrant(s) will receive by intinction or receive the Precious Blood by drinking from the chalice. Ordinations and other large diocesan gatherings will only allow intinction by concelebrants spring/summer 2021.
  • The Precious Blood may be shared with a deacon of the Mass, but not yet extended to any other of the faithful. This will be determined at a later date.
  • Holy Communion may be given on the tongue or in the hand; the Communion minister should use discretion and purify hands if contagious contact is made.

Many who are vulnerable will continue to remain masked when around others, regardless of the county/city directives.  Respect and consideration should be at the forefront of our interactions when we are gathered at our parishes and schools.

Additionally, a pastor [or parochial/pastoral administrator] is to determine:

  • How to clean/sanitize pews between each Mass, if at all. Local steps must be taken to ensure the physical and spiritual safety of all participants.
  • Whether or not priests presiding at Masses are able to meet/greet the faithful before and after liturgies (following the county/city guidelines as noted above)
  • Whether or not congregational singing is re-introduced to the community at this time. It remains recommended that cantors/soloists are ten feet away from others.
  • Whether or not the passing of collection baskets or a continued praxis of non-touch baskets on long handles extended by ushers or designated baskets on stands is to continue.
  • Whether or not the procession of the gifts may be re-engaged at this time.
  • Whether or not there may be a movement back into confessional boxes/confined rooms for the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation and how the sanitizing/cleaning of these spaces may be safely engaged for all concerned.

©2021 Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph