2021 Archived COVID-19 Press Releases

Recent COVID-19 Guidelines Update (5-25-21)

Yesterday, May 24, 2021, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released the most current guidelines to the Gatherings and Face Mask Order, MCL 333.2253.  This order takes effect on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 12:01 am and remains in effect through July 1, 2021 at 11:59 pm.  Below are the changes to prior updates. 

Beginning June 1:

  • Indoor Gathering Capacity
    • Indoor gatherings are permitted if the occupancy limit does not exceed the greater of:
      • 50% of the limits established by the State Fire Marshal or a local fire marshal (or 30 persons per 1,000 square feet if no applicable fire marshal limit exists); or
      • 25 persons.
  • Outdoor Gathering Capacity
    • No limits
  • Face mask requirement
    • Any persons who are not fully vaccinated, two weeks past their last required dose of the COVID vaccine, are expected to wear a face mask.

The following are also permitted beginning June 1, as long as the above Indoor Gathering Capacity guidelines are followed:

  • BINGO
  • Parish Hall rentals
  • Wedding and funeral luncheons

As noted, the above changes do not begin until June 1, 2021. Therefore, the diocesan guidelines published on May 18 (see below) remain in effect until then. When the next Order becomes available we will review it and share changes to the diocesan guidelines as quickly as possible. 

 


Recent COVID-19 Guidelines Update (5-21-21)

Yesterday, May 20, Governor Whitmer announced the re-evaluation of her “MI Vacc to Normal” Plan. The focus will now shift from the percentage of Michiganders who have received a COVID vaccine to specified dates. A summary is as follows:

Beginning June 1:

  • Indoor gathering capacity limits will increase to 50%.
  • There will be no capacity limits for outdoor gatherings.

Beginning July 1:

  • The Gatherings and Face Mask Order will expire.
    • The State of Michigan reserves the right to change this date if unexpected conditions arise.
    • The State of Michigan may create a more focused order to protect the vulnerable populations.

As noted, the above changes do not begin to go into effect until June 1, 2021. Therefore, the diocesan guidelines published on May 18 remain in effect for the time being. Next Monday, May 24, a new epidemic order is to be released; we will review that order when made available and share changes to our diocesan guidelines as quickly as possible.

 


Revised COVID-19 Guidelines/FAQs (5-18-21)

The new Gatherings and Face Mask Order goes into effect on May 15, 2021 at 9:00 am and the order will remain in effect through May 31, 2021. The below information will replace all others on the diocesan website; please disregard previous notices. 

Dispensation from Mass

  • The Dispensation from the obligation of attending Sunday and Holy Day Mass is lifted effective the weekend of May 29-30, 2021.  All who are able are invited to return to in-person worship.  There are serious reasons why some may not be able to return to in-person celebrations, and they would therefore be dispensed from attending in accord with our traditional teachings (i.e. illness, family situations, impossibility, etc.).

Church Capacity

  • Social distancing during liturgical celebrations is no longer required. 
  • Signage/rope/tape may be removed from church pews.
  • Please create space in your churches, as you are able to do so, to accommodate those who wish to continue social distancing. 

Vaccination Status

  • Priests who are not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to tell their parishioners their vaccination status; this is so parishioners may fully understand why they may or may not be able to perform certain duties.
  • Do not ask parishioners or staff about the vaccination status. 

Non-liturgical Gathering Guidelines

  • Indoor gatherings at non-residential venues are permitted with no more than 25 persons gathered. 
  • Outdoor gatherings at non-residential venues are permitted with 300 or fewer persons gathered. 

Facial Coverings

  • Face masks are to be worn by parishioners and staff who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Priests who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear face masks when appropriate. 
  • Servers who are not fully vaccinated are to wear face masks.

Holy Water Fonts

  • Holy water fonts may be filled and used by the faithful at the discretion of the pastor. The outside and lip of the font should be cleaned regularly. 

General

  • All hymnals and re-useable worship materials may be returned to the pews and gathering spaces.
  • Bulletins may be distributed after Mass by Ushers.
  • Other materials, such as CSA, may be distributed and/or made available.
  • Collection baskets may be passed through the assembly if that has been the parish practice.
  • Have hand sanitizer and masks available for parishioners who may want to use them upon entering the church.

Music

  • The assembly may sing as is customary for the parish.
  • The use of hymnals is permissible.
  • Music ministry (choirs, instruments, etc.) should be reinstated. 

Cleaning Requirements

  • Continue cleaning of the church on regular basis.

The Holy Eucharist

  • The priests, deacons, Eucharistic Ministers should say “The Body of Christ” to each individual Communicant.  Saying it once for all is no longer acceptable. 
  • Those distributing Holy Communion are to sanitize their hands after they have received holy Communion from the priest and before distribution to the faithful.
  • Non-vaccinated priests and Eucharistic Ministers are to wear face masks when distributing Holy Communion.

Ritual Adaptations

  • The presentation of wine and hosts may continue during the Offertory.
  • The Sign of Peace may be reinstated for those within the same family/household at the discretion of the priest.  The deacon or priest is directed to announce at the prescribed time: “Respecting our need to distance, let us offer the sign of peace to those in your household.”  Encourage those wishing to share the Sign of Peace with those outside of their household to use a simple visual sign, such as a nod of their head or wave. 

Distribution of Holy Communion

  • The distribution of the Precious Blood continues to be suspended at this time.  Please make special arrangements for parishioners who may not be able to receive the host.

The Sprinkling Rite

  • The Rite for the Blessing and Sprinkling of Water may take place when appropriate.

Sacraments

Infant Baptism

  • May be celebrated during or outside of Mass.
  • Baptism is by pouring. (No immersion.)
  • With the exception of the infant/children present; non-vaccinated priests and participants are to wear masks.

Weddings

  • Wedding Masses are able to continue following Mass protocols.
  • Priests and wedding participants who are not vaccinated are to wear masks. 
  • Celebrations/luncheons are permitted in parish halls following indoor gathering guidelines of 25 or fewer attendees.

Outdoor Weddings:

  • Outdoor weddings are not permitted.

Anointing of the Sick

  • Anointing of the Sick is to be celebrated individually.
  • Non-vaccinated priests and persons are to wear masks.
  • The celebrant must practice hand hygiene before laying on of hands and after anointing.

Funerals

  • Funeral Masses are able to continue following Mass protocols. 
  • Priests and funeral participants who are not vaccinated are to wear masks. 
  • Funeral luncheons are permitted in parish halls following indoor gathering guidelines of 25 or fewer attendees.

Mass Outdoors

  • Outdoor masses are permitted, at the priest’s discretion. 
    • Masses must be held on parish grounds.

Reconciliation

  • Individual confessions are to be encouraged and may continue.
  • Communal penance services with individual absolution may continue.
  • Non-vaccinated priests and participants are to wear masks and social distancing guidelines must be followed to the extent possible. 

Wedding, Confirmation, First Holy Communion and other liturgical rehearsals

  • Non-vaccinated priests and participants are to wear masks.

Devotional events

  • Churches should remain open for private prayer according to their regular schedules. 
  • Adoration chapels may be open.

Children’s Liturgy

  • Remains suspended through the remainder of this academic year; will resume in the fall of 2021.

RCIA, Faith Formation and Sacramental Prep

  • Non-vaccinated priests and participants are to wear masks.

Parish Hall Rentals

  • Are not permitted at this time.

Parish Festivals/Carnivals/Picnics

  • Outdoor parish gatherings are permitted following the Non-Liturgical Gathering Guidelines of 300 or less attendees.
  • Consumption of food/beverage is permitted only while seated and only in designated areas following the guidelines in place in the Gatherings and Face Mask Order.

Bake Sale/Craft Fair/Public Lectures

  • Activities are permitted following the Non-Liturgical Gathering Guidelines, indoors 25 or fewer, outdoors 300 or less attendees.
  • Non-vaccinated persons are to wear masks. 

Blood Drives & CPR Classes

  • Blood drives and CPR classes are permitted.
  • Non-vaccinated persons are to wear masks.

BINGO

  • BINGO remains suspended until further notice in all church facilities.

Revisions will continue to be provided as Department of Health and Human Services update the Emergency Order under MCL 333.2253 – Gatherings and Face Mask Order.

Click for Printable PDF


ARCHIVED: Updates to Diocesan COVID-19 Protocols for Liturgical Celebrations (5-14-21)

Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced updated COVID-19 guidelines parallel to that of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These changes go into effect tomorrow, Saturday, May 15, at 9 A.M.

Therefore, the following changes become effective as soon as parishes can implement them:

  • Masks are no longer required during liturgical celebrations. It is expected that those who are not vaccinated follow CDC guidance and wear a mask for the safety of fellow parishioners.
  • Social distancing is no longer required during liturgical celebrations. Rope/tape/signage can be removed from church’s pews. Church seating capacity has no limit, however, space in the church should be set aside to accommodate those who wish to continue social distancing, as parishes are able to do so.
  • Parishioners are not expected to share their vaccination status.
  • The dispensation from attending Mass will be lifted, effective the weekend of May 29-30, 2021, except for those with serious reasons for not attending.

The Diocese of Gaylord will continue to thoroughly review these updated [MDHHS and CDC] guidelines and will provide further details about the implications for our parishes early next week.  

This weekend, and in the immediate term, we can expect that there may be variations from parish to parish in the implementation of these guidelines; as parishes work to adjust according to their particular circumstances.

 


ARCHIVED: Updated Guidance from CDC Regarding: Masks, Social Distancing, Etc. (5/14/21)

DATE: May 14, 2021
TO: Priests, Directors of Parish Life, Deacons, Parish Staff, Diocesan Staff
FROM: Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley
RE: Masks, Social Distancing, Etc.

The Centers for Disease Control has issued new guidance that fully vaccinated people — during outdoor or indoor activities, large or small — do not need to wear masks or socially distance, with a few limitations. While this CDC guidance does not supersede any federal, state or local regulations that are in place, this change has significant implications for our parishes, offices and schools.

I send this to let you know that we are studying the implications of this new guidance, and once there is further clarity, we will provide updated guidance for our parishes as soon as possible. This will likely change our capacity rules, as well as many others. We are in the process of making these changes that will impact our parishes, and once they are made, they will be effective immediately.

You should also expect a move towards the lifting of the dispensation from attending Mass, effective the weekend of May 29-30, 2021, except for those with serious reasons for not attending.

We will continue to examine the new guidance and implications for our parishes, and will keep you informed as quickly as possible. More information will be forthcoming in the early days of next week.

For the time being, please stay the course for a few more days. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we navigate these choppy waters together.

 


ARCHIVED: MDHHS Order Extension through May 24, 2021 (4/26/21)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has extended the prior Gatherings and Face Mask Order through May 24, 2021. There are no changes to prior guidelines that were sent out on March 4 (which can be found below). Please refer to the Capacity Limits Fact Sheet from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for further details in that regard.

 


ARCHIVED: Updates from Bishop Hurley (3/10/21)

You will soon be receiving some updated material from our Worship Office regarding the liturgy as we continue in these challenging but hope-filled times. As we come to know more about the virus and our safety precautions, as well as welcome people back to in-person worship, we are trying to keep all up-todate on expectations as we work to open things up in a safe way.

I am also grateful for those who posted in their parish bulletins and on their website my letter, “Come Home to Hope,” as we seek to invite and welcome people back to church. I am most grateful to those who have carefully observed the requested (and sometimes changing) protocols in the midst of this pandemic to ensure that our churches are safe for our people. There are several new updates I want to highlight:

  • Masks, social distancing and the availability and use of hand sanitizers continue to be required in all parishes in the diocese.
  • If you have not been using Mass servers (as some have not during the pandemic), it is time to bring them back using proper social distancing, masks, etc. as appropriate. The presence of well-trained Mass servers enhances our celebration of the liturgy. As you know, this ministry is and should be open to young women as well as young men in all our parishes.
  • While still retaining the use of masks, people can now be invited to sing the Gloria, the Entrance and Recessional hymn, in addition to the proper parts of the Mass. Music is an important part of our worship even more so in Holy Week and Easter.
  • For the time being, please continue to refrain from having hymnals available. Instead, use disposable worship aids to assist with singing and/or consider selecting music that would be familiar to your parishioners.
  • Because of the minimal contagion on the surfaces of furniture, disinfecting between celebrations of the Mass is no longer necessary. Those who may wish to do so can certainly bring their own disinfectant wipes. Good cleaning daily after Mass continues to be required at all times. The misting of churches that is practiced by some few parishes is not a diocesan requirement.

We must continue to keep our churches safe, and at the same time, gradually return to good liturgical practices.

I trust these comments and adjustments to our protocols will be useful to you and serve our people.

+WAH

Updates from Bishop Hurley (3/10/21)

 


ARCHIVED: Questions of Morality relating to COVID-19 vaccines (3-5-21)

With the release of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, there is renewed discussion regarding the moral acceptability of this vaccine, as well as other COVID-19 vaccines currently in use. The question about the moral permissibility of using vaccines developed, tested and/or produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines should be addressed in order that Catholics, and all people of good will, can make sound decisions that further the common good and lessen the suffering caused by COVID-19 in a morally responsible manner.

In summary, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that “when ethically irreproachable COVID-19 vaccines are not available … it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used stem cells from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.” However, if there is an opportunity to choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen (currently Pfizer or Moderna).

It is recognized that those seeking vaccination may not have an option between the various COVID-19 vaccines that have been developed, and in those circumstances, it is morally acceptable to receive whichever COVID-19 vaccine is available to you.

For your information and those seeking further guidance in addressing these moral considerations, you will find it useful to consult the attached documents:

  1. Statement of the Michigan Bishops on COVID-19 Vaccines (March 3, 2021)
  2. U.S. Bishop Chairmen for Doctrine and Pro-Life Address the Use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine(March 2, 2021)
  3. Note on the Morality of Using Some Anti-COVID-19 Vaccines from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (December 21, 2020)
  4. Points to Consider on the Use of the COVID-19 Vaccines from the National Catholic Bioethics Center (December 8, 2020)

Update on 3-9-21: Additionally, the following television interviews with Bishop Hurley on the topic of the COVID-19 vaccines are available at the following links. 

 


ARCHIVED: Revised COVID-19 Guidelines/FAQs (3-4-21)

The new Gatherings and Face Mask Order goes into effect on March 5, 2021 at 12:01 am and the order will remain in effect through April 19, 2021. This document will replace all others on the diocesan website; please disregard previous notices.

Dispensation from Mass

  • On November 9, 2020 the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation in the Diocese of Gaylord was extended by Bishop Hurley until further notice. The dispensation is in place for anyone who needs to stay at home to protect the common good, themselves and others can do so in good conscience.
  • The recommendation to stay home is for people who are considered vulnerable due to age or have underlying health conditions.
    • If someone is sick, please encourage them to stay home.

Church Capacity

  • Priests are allowed to admit the number they can safely accommodate while maintaining the required sanitizing; social distancing (6-feet minimum); and the required use of face masks.
  • Church seating capacity is no longer limited to the previous 25% capacity.
  • Highly touched surfaces are to be disinfected after each liturgy and hand sanitizers are available and used by all. Misting is not required.

Social Distancing and Group Sizes

  • Social distancing must be maintained at all times except when brief proximity is required because of the activity, e.g., performing certain ministries or receiving the sacraments.
  • Only those from the same household may sit together; everyone else should maintain 6 feet of distance in every direction for other individuals not from their household.
    • The utilization of signs, tape, or ropes should be used to help keep the 6 feet of distance while in lines and for seating.
  • While social distancing must be maintained, there is no limit on attendance (percentage or fixed capacity) for indoor worship.

Non-liturgical Gathering Guidelines (face masks and social distancing required)

  • Indoor gatherings at non-residential venues are permitted with no more than 25 persons gathered.
  • Outdoor gatherings at non-residential venues are permitted with 300 or fewer persons gathered.

Facial Coverings

  • Face masks are required for participation in all Masses and parish events. This requirement is following CDC guidelines.
    • Masks should cover a person’s nose and mouth and be secure under their chin. It should also fit snugly against the sides of the face.
    • As a rule, priests in the sanctuary should not wear facial coverings, with the exception of when distributing Holy Communion.
    • Have face masks available, for those who may forget theirs, at the entrance to the Church.
    • For the purpose of the March 2, 2021 Order the following are not considered “face masks”: Scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, neck gaiters, plastic masks, and chin shields.

General Precautions

  • Holy Water and baptismal fonts are to remain empty.
    • Holy Water can be made available in other ways, like by bottles/containers brought in by parishioners. The “Order for the Blessing  of Holy Water outside Mass” may be found in the Book of Blessings.
  • Use ushers to dismiss the congregation beginning with the back of the church, row by row moving towards the front.
  • Lay greeters should maintain a safe social distance from parishioners.
  • Priest should maintain a safe social distance from parishioners if they choose to greet them before and/or after Mass, which we would encourage them to do.
  • Invite parishioners to donate online or place their envelope in a basket upon entering or leaving the Church. Do not pass a collection basket.
  • There should be no physical contact between parishioners of separate households (e.g. parishioners should not shake hands for the Sign of Peace nor should they hold hands during the Our Father).
  • Have hand sanitizer and masks available for parishioners to use upon entering the church and encourage them to use their own prior to receiving Communion.

Music

  • The parts of the Mass that may be sung by all: Psalm response, Alleluia Verse, the Holy Holy, the Mystery of Faith, the Great Amen, and the Lamb of God.
  • The Gloria, Creed and Our Father should not be sung.
  • A cantor or other singer may sing a hymn or special music at places in the liturgy.
  • Masks and social distancing should be followed by musicians and choir.

Cleaning Requirements

  • All drinking fountains should be turned off, wrapped in plastic, and have a sign placed on them stating Out of Order.
  • All hymnals and re-useable worship materials should be removed from pews and gathering spaces.
  • Bulletins may be available after Mass; ushers should not pass them out. In keeping with social distancing, place a stack of bulletins where parishioners may take one themselves. The same stack of bulletins should not be set out at back-to-back Masses.
  • Ushers, church personnel, and/or volunteers MUST wipe down frequently touched surfaces after each Mass. The surfaces that require the additional cleaning include but are not limited to the following:
    • The tops and endcaps of pews, where people are most likely to place their hands.
    • Bathrooms.
    • Door handles and door push plates.
  • Misting/spraying/fogging is not required.
  • Follow the recommendations on the cleaning product used in your church to ensure germs are killed.
  • For additional cleaning information please see the CDC guidelines on disinfecting.

Lent and Holy Week Regulations, 2021

  • Please see memo from Beth Hicks, Director, Office of Worship dated February 11, 2021, on the diocesan website.

The Holy Eucharist

Social Distancing

  • Ministers should maintain proper social distancing protocol in the sacristy and during the procession and recession.
  • Consideration should be given to whether the procession and recession routes allow ministers to maintain the proper social distancing protocols from the congregation.

Ritual Adaptations

  • A server should not hold a book for the celebrant at the chair; the missal could be placed on a lectern at the chair.
  • The presentation of wine and hosts may resume during the Offertory. The members of the assembly who will present the gifts are to be wearing masks and must sanitize their hands before picking up the vessels and presenting them.
  • Interactions among ministers at the altar should be minimized.
  • A deacon may stand beside the celebrant to elevate the chalice at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer.
  • The invitation to the Sign of Peace and the Sign of Peace itself are omitted until further notice.

Distribution of Holy Communion

  • The distribution of the Precious Blood is suspended at this time. Please make special arrangements for parishioners who may not be able to receive the host.
  • As often as necessary the priest should instruct the faithful, either at the beginning of Mass or at the conclusion of his homily, as to the appropriate distribution of Holy Communion.
  • The distribution of Holy Communion should take place in the following way:
    • Communicants should know how to maintain proper social distancing in line when approaching to receive Holy Communion.
    • Holy Communion may not be distributed with gloves or by an instrument and may not be received by a gloved hand.
    • The minister of Holy Communion must wear an appropriate face covering and sanitize his/her hands immediately before and after distributing Holy Communion.
    • A small table/stand should be placed at the Communion station with an unfolded corporal, an ablution cup/dish, and hand sanitizer in the instance that contact is made with the communicant’s hand or tongue.
      • When a minister senses contact with a communicant’s hand or mouth, he/she should:
        • set the ciborium or paten on the corporal,
        • Purify his/her fingers in the ablution cup, then
        • Use hand sanitizer and wait for his/her hands to dry,
        • Continue with distribution.

Sacraments

Infant Baptism

  • May be celebrated during or outside of Mass.
  • Holy Water fonts to remain unfilled.
  • Baptism is by pouring; fresh water is to be used for each baptism. (No immersion.)
  • With the exception of the infant all participants must wear masks and practice social distancing.

Weddings

  • Wedding Masses are able to continue following Mass protocols.
  • The priest in the sanctuary nor the couple have to wear face coverings; all other participants, as required, must wear face masks.
  • Celebrations/luncheons are not permitted in parish halls or gathering spaces due to capacity limits and other restrictions.

Outdoor Weddings:

  • Outdoor weddings are not permitted.

Anointing of the Sick

  • Anointing of the Sick is to be celebrated individually.
  • Everyone, including the priest, is to wear a face covering during the celebration of the sacrament.
  • The celebrant must practice hand hygiene before laying on of hands and after anointing.

Funerals

  • Funeral Masses are able to continue following Mass protocols.
  • Funeral luncheons are not permitted in parish halls or gathering spaces due to capacity limits and other restrictions.

Mass Outdoors

  • Outdoor masses are permitted, at the priest’s discretion.
    • Masses must be held on parish grounds.
    • Outdoor Masses in which people remain in the vehicles are prohibited.

Reconciliation

  • Individual confessions are to be encouraged and may continue.
  • Communal penance services with individual absolution may continue.
  • Mask and social distancing guidelines must be followed.

Wedding, Confirmation, First Holy Communion and other liturgical rehearsals

  • If a rehearsal is necessary, it should be brief and follow Non-Liturgical Gathering Guidelines.

Devotional events

  • Churches should remain open for private prayer according to their regular schedules following sanitation, social distancing, and face mask guidelines.
  • Adoration chapels may be open following sanitation, social distancing, and face mask guidelines.

Children’s Liturgy

  • Remains suspended through the remainder of this academic year.

Faith Formation and Sacramental Prep

  • Faith Formation and Sacramental Prep for K-8 Grade is allowed to be held in person as of October of 2020, following school protocols.
  • Faith Formation for high school students is allowed to be held in person as of January 4, 2021, following school protocols.
  • Faith Formation and RCIA for adults is allowed as of January 18, 2021, following college/university protocols.

Parish Hall Rentals

  • Due to capacity limits and other restrictions, rentals are not permitted at this time.

Parish Festivals/Carnivals/Picnics

  • Outdoor parish gatherings are permitted under the March 5, 2021 Gatherings and Face Mask Order following the Non-Liturgical Gathering Guidelines (above).
  • Consumption of food/beverage is permitted only while seated and only in designated areas.

Bake Sale/Craft Fair/Public Lectures

  • Activities are permitted in a place of worship; but, are still subject to the Gatherings and Face Mask Order’s mask requirements, social distancing, and capacity limits.

Fish Fries

  • Dinners are to be packaged individually and served in to-go containers with no eat-in service.
  • All volunteers must wear appropriate personal protection equipment at all times and complete a COVID-19 symptom questionnaire and have their temperature taken prior to entering the facility. If anyone is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms they should be asked not to volunteer.
  • The parish must also keep a record of volunteer names, phone numbers, and dates worked to assist with contact tracing should it be needed.
  • Social distancing should be maintained by the kitchen staff and those in the take-out line(s).

Blood Drives & CPR Classes

  • With the need for blood being critical, parishes may move forward with holding blood drives. This is one way we can offer support to our communities. All safety precautions from the local health departments and blood banks must be followed. The space used during the blood drive must be appropriately sanitized before and after the event.
  • CPR classes are permitted under the March 5, 2021 Gatherings and Face Mask Order. The space used during the class must be appropriately sanitized before and after the event.

BINGO

  • While it is allowed under the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Gatherings and Face Mask Order issued on January 18, 2021, per the January 22, 2021 update from the diocesan office, BINGO remains suspended until further notice in all church facilities.

Printable PDF: Updated COVID-19 Guidelines 3-4-21

 


ARCHIVED: Lent and Holy Week Regulations 2021 (2-11-21) 

DATE: February 11, 2021

TO: All Clergy, Directors of Parish Life and Parishes Leaders

FROM: Beth Hicks, Director, Office of Worship

RE: Lent and Holy Week Regulations – Updated with Additional Information

Communal Penance Services

  • Communal penance services may be celebrated using the Rite of Reconciliation of Several Penitents with Individual Confession and Absolution (Rite of Penance, Chapter II).
  • The Rite of Reconciliation of Individual Penitents (Rite of Penance, Chapter I) remains the preferred form of celebration for the safety of people during the pandemic.
  • The conditions for the use of General Absolution (Rite of Penance, Chapter III) are not present in the diocese and may not be used.

Stations of the Cross

  • Stations of the Cross may be celebrated with safety protocols being observed.

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

  • The distribution of palms may take place before Mass. The palms should be spread out on tables where the faithful take their own palm. It may be helpful to have a sign reminding people to only touch the palm they are taking. Alternatively, a few volunteers with sanitized hands or wearing gloves could assist in distribution.
  • The Second Form, The Solemn Entrance is to be used for the first Mass of Palm Sunday.

Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper

  • There is to be only one Mass of the Lord’s Supper celebrated in the evening.
  • The Washing of the Feet is always optional. This year, for the safety of both the people and the priests, Washing of the Feet should be omitted.
  • The transfer of the Most Blessed Sacrament shall be done with necessary ministers only in the procession to the location of repose. If necessary, the route should be modified to allow for proper distancing. The area for adorers who remain near the place of repose for prayer should be set up to maintain appropriate and comfortable distancing. 

Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord

  • There is to be only one celebration of the Passion of the Lord on this day.
  • Individual adoration of the cross is permitted. The people are to process forward, socially distanced, to venerate the cross with a bow. Only the celebrant may touch and kiss the cross during Adoration.
  • A special intercession should be included as the 11th of the Solemn Intercessions. The same text from 2020 may be used: 

Let us pray also for all those who suffer the consequences of the current pandemic, that God the Father may grant health to the sick, strength to those who care for them, comfort to families and salvation to all the victims who have died.

Almighty ever-living God, only support of our human weakness, look with compassion upon the sorrowful condition of your children who suffer because of this pandemic; relieve the pain of the sick, give strength to those who care for them, welcome into your peace those who have died and, throughout this time of tribulation, grant that we may all find comfort in your merciful love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night

  • This year, the Easter Vigil may begin as early as 8:00 pm.
  • Consideration should be given to the safe, socially distanced gathering of the faithful at the fire and the procession into the church. If this cannot be done safely, the gathering of people at the fire should be limited to the ministers the elect and godparents, candidates and sponsors.
  • Since all would need to remove their masks and exhale forcefully to extinguish them, the use of small candles by the faithful during the Lucernarium and the Renewal of Baptismal Promises is discouraged. Should you choose to offer the small candles to the faithful, it would be prudent to acknowledge the circumstances ahead of time, giving directions for a timely and orderly process of sharing the light and the safest manner of extinguishing them.
  • Baptism is by infusion (pouring) only this year. Fresh water is to be used for each baptism.
  • Holy water fonts will need to be left unfilled.
  • The priest is to sanitize his hands between each anointing during the Rite of Confirmation. The anointing may also be done using a cotton ball or swab. If cotton is used, please be sure it is burned afterwards for appropriate disposal of the Chrism oil.

Printable PDF: Lent and Holy Week Regulations – Updated with Additional Information

 


 

ARCHIVED: Extension of COVID-19 Protocols through Mar. 29 (2-22-21)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services updated their Gatherings and Face Mask Order on February 4, 2021, extending the protocols outlined in their prior orders.  This extension continues current guidelines through March 29, 2021.

The Gatherings and Face Mask Order keeps the following limitations on gatherings:

  • While it does allow for indoor gatherings at non-residential venues, the limit remains at less than 10 people from no more than 2 households.  At this time, we will continue not to hold indoor gatherings/meeting, including BINGO.
  • Face masks (covering an individuals nose and mouth) and the 6 foot distance barrier remain requirements for all persons participating in gatherings.
  • Faith formation resumed in-person for all participants as of January 18, 2021 (following school protocols).

 


ARCHIVED: Extension of COVID-19 Protocols through Feb. 22 (1-22-21)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services updated their Emergency Order this afternoon, extending many of the protocols outlined in the prior orders.  This extension begins on February 1, 2021 and goes through February 22, 2021. 

  • While the Emergency Order does allow for indoor gatherings at non-residential venues, the limit is less than 10 people from no more than 2 different households.  At this time, we will continue not to hold indoor gatherings (meetings).
  • BINGO has been allowed to resume as of January 18, 2021 under the current Emergency Order issued on January 13, 2021.  As of now, BINGO should be suspended until further notice within our facilities.

 


ARCHIVED: Adult Faith Formation & Extension of COVID-19 Protocols through Jan. 31 (1-14-21)

Please note that yesterday’s Jan. 13 Epidemic Order, issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, has extended many of the protocols outlined in the Dec. 18 Epidemic Order. This extension is now in effect through January 31. 

Also of note from yesterday’s order, the following gatherings may begin to take place on January 18, so long as they follow the Nov. 15 guidelines for capacity limit, face masks and social distancing:

  • Following the reopening guidelines for colleges and universities, adult faith formation in our parishes can return to in-person gatherings [on January 18].
  • BINGO may resume in person beginning [on January 18].

 


ARCHIVED: COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Information (1-8-21)

DATE: January 8, 2021

TO: Priests, Directors of Parish Life, Deacons, Diocesan Staff

FROM: Karina Bak, Director of Human Resources

RE: COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Information

On January 6, 2021, Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced the beginning of Phase 1B for individuals eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Those eligible in Phase 1B include: Individuals 65 years and older who do not live in a congregate care setting and continued eligibility for frontline workers (school and childcare staff; frontline responders at the county, state and federal levels; and staff in jails, prisons and shelters). Clergy have also been elevated to this Phase and are now eligible to receive the vaccine.

If you are Phase eligible (Phase 1A and 1B), you may request an appointment through the Health Department. Currently, Walgreens is delivering vaccines to long-term care facilities and will have vaccines for the public sometime in 2021. CVS and Rite Aid will have vaccines available to the public, but do not at this time. You may also check to see if your own physician is offering the vaccine. While the vaccine is being made available to more individuals, please be aware it may not yet be available in our area.

To pre-register for the vaccine, please call MI-211 at 231-715-5557. You will need to provide the following information when registering:

  • Name and address
  • Date of birth and age
  • Email and phone number (and answer to question: “Are you able to receive text messages?”)
  • Answer to question: “Do you need transportation to the vaccination site?”

MI-211 will then send your information to the local health department, who will call to schedule the test.

There is no charge for the vaccine itself, however, some providers may charge a fee for administering the vaccine. Please remember to have your insurance card with you for your appointment to cover that charge if needed.

Information on the vaccine can be found here, on the CDC website.

Printable PDF: COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Information (1-8-21)

 


 

To view CURRENT 2021 protocols and policies regarding COVID-19, click here.