SAN ANGELO, TX — “Until further notice, and effective immediately, Catholics are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays,” states a new protocol document released by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Angelo. Read the full statement here.
Public Masses are suspended from March 17 until March 31 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus. In lieu of public Mass, the diocese is exploring alternatives, such as parking lot Mass.
Parking lot Mass is, “where the priest uses an outdoor altar, and the people remain in their cars listening to the Mass with a signal broadcast to cell phones through an app or to car radios by an FM transmitter, may be possible in some places.”
Other services of the Catholic Churches in the San Angelo Diocese will be canceled or curtailed, including:
- No more than 10 guests at any wedding
- “All upcoming Lenten Communal Penance Services are to be cancelled, but priests are to make times available for individual Confessions, using a protective screen or cloth barrier to block the transmission of germs. The penitent space should be frequently sanitized.”
- Quinceañeras are limited to 10 attendees.
- Baptisms are limited to 10 attendees
- All Confirmations and First Communions through May 10 are suspended.
- Anointing the sick: Priests will continue to make these sacraments available to those who need them, but they will practice careful precautions to avoid the transmission of disease. Anointing should be done wearing a glove and using a disposable cotton ball or cotton swab. Steps should be taken to avoid contaminating the oil stock. The cotton instrument should be isolated, contained, and later burned. Masses with communal Anointing of the Sick should not be held.
- Funeral services will still take place, but the congregation size will be limited to the number of people recommended by the Centers for Disease Control
- Priests will hold a simple, private Palm Sunday service, after which people may pick up blessed palms from the parish.
- The liturgies of the Paschal Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday) will not be celebrated publicly in the parishes.
- The RCIA Scrutinies may be carried out in small settings by a priest or deacon.
- The Sacraments of Initiation, normally administered at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, can be rescheduled for the Vigil of Pentecost on the evening of May 30 or a later date.
- All fish fry events will make meals available for take-out only rather than communal dining at church facilities.
The Diocese of San Angelo oversees Catholic Churches from Abilene to Midland/Odessa to Iraan to Sonora to Junction.