Bishop Johnston mandates the following guidelines currently, in addition to those previously given, regarding Mass and related liturgies within the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph until further notice:

  • The sick or a member of the Christian faithful who has a compromised immune system are to refrain from attending Mass.
  • Holy water fonts without a filtration system and continual flow of blessed water are to be emptied.
  • Physical contact is suspended before, during, and after Mass and at other liturgies, encouraging the “social distancing” necessary to assist keeping everyone as healthy and safe as possible. The Sign of Peace is to be offered, but without touch.
  • Those administering Holy Communion are to be in good health, free from symptoms of illness and have not been in contact with someone who was ill in the previous 14 days.
  • Distribution of Holy Communion from the chalice – beyond the presider and any concelebrants for a valid Mass – is suspended.
  • As our Masses are less than 1,000 persons, their celebration continues to be offered daily and on weekends. Presently, Masses are not cancelled.
  • Decisions on other liturgical celebrations, for example, the Chrism Mass will be determined at a later date.
  • Contingency plans are in place to respond to this developing situation and further monitoring will allow additional communication of updated guidelines and steps to address this virus while caring for the common good and our most vulnerable persons at this time.
  • All decisions regarding parish, school and diocesan workplace operations will continue to be determined by developments in the COVID-19 situation in the Kansas City and northwest Missouri diocesan area, as well as by the effects on each individual community. We reiterate to our parishes, schools and staff the importance of reviewing the CDC website regularly, staying home if one is sick, following hygiene and travel guidelines from health officials, and reporting any pertinent information to the local health department.

Bishop urges everyone to pray and he offers this as a recommendation:

“O Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Patroness and Protector of the People of the United States of America,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.” Amen.

Previous letter here