Returning to Public Mass


Understandably, everyone is anxious to return to normalcy. But the threat of the coronavirus is still very much with us. This certainly has impacted the way we worship and the rituals which are a vital part of our faith. However, with over a year of scientific research and with increased access to vaccines, it seems prudent and timely to revise safety measures slowly when it has been proven safe to do so. Please find updated questions and answers below, along with a link to the full guidelines.


Q & A on the Guidelines for Public Worship in the Diocese of Owensboro*

  • Bishop Medley has extended, until further notice, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. Therefore, no one is required to attend Mass on Sunday or Saturday evening.
  • Those who are considered to be at risk and those who may feel uncomfortable attending a public Mass should worship from home. Parishes that are able will continue to live stream the Mass.
  • As an act of Christian charity to safeguard the health of others, those who are ill or who may have been recently exposed to the coronavirus should refrain from attending public Mass.
  • Since the obligation is dispensed, Catholics who would like to attend Mass are encouraged to consider going to Mass on a weekday in order to lessen the crowd on Sunday.

  • Six Three feet of physical distancing will need to be maintained between all of the faithful except for those who live in the same home. Pastors may choose to enforce more restrictive protocols (i.e., six foot distance). **5/6/21
  • **In order to facilitate physical distancing, each church may accommodate only 60% of its capacity. 
  • We are asking everyone attending Mass to wear a face mask; this includes children over the age of two. This age is based on CDC recommendations saying anyone two years of age or older should wear a mask when in public or around people who do not live in your household.  Those children under the age of two are welcome to attend Mass unmasked, as recommended by the CDC guidelines. *Revised April 29, 2021
  • The presider will wear a mask while in procession and during the distribution of Holy Communion. At all other times, he will maintain a distance of six three feet from other ministers.**5/6/21
  • The sign of peace will either be omitted or will be given in a non-physical manner such as with a bow of the head.
  • Holding hands during the Our Father should be done only by those who live in the same home.
  • Congregational singing is permitted, but not recommended. Spread of the virus via droplets in the air remains a threat, and thus singing is only safe when everyone is properly masked. The best practice is to allow sung acclamations, responses, and responsorial psalms, or otherwise songs that are call/response in nature rather than having the congregation sing for a prolonged period of time. Choirs are not permitted.  Please see here for more information regarding best practices.**5/1/21 Choirs may resume but must be masked and placed three feet apart. Cantors may be unmasked if at least 8-12 feet apart.**5/6/21
  • Cry rooms will be unavailable.
  • The collection basket will not be passed but will be kept in a stationary location.
  • Holy water fonts will remain empty.
  • **Bulletins may be passed out by ushers utilizing physical distancing and wearing gloves or set out after Mass to be picked up by people as they are leaving.
  • All hymnals and missalettes may be returned to the pews for communal use. **5/1/21
  • At the conclusion of the Mass, people will depart by pews to avoid a bottleneck at the doors.

  • Since Bishop Medley has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday, there is no obligation to receive Holy Communion.
  • For those who choose to receive Holy Communion, six three feet of distance must be maintained in the Communion procession. **5/6/21
  • The face mask should be worn while in procession and removed only long enough to receive Holy Communion.
  • The practice of the faithful receiving Communion on the tongue is suspended. Holy Communion will be given in the hand only.
  • The practice of the faithful receiving the Precious Blood is suspended.

  • We recommend high use areas within the church be wiped down, especially door handles and push plates. Doors might be propped open to lessen contact or hospitality ministers should hold doors open. Where possible, hand disinfectant should be made available. **5/6/21

  • These liturgies are subject to all guidelines presented above. They are to take place at the pastor’s discretion.
  • Water for baptism is to be changed and blessed before each baptism. As always, blessed water should be properly disposed of in the ground.

The full guidelines linked below are effective May 6, 2021.



Signs in English, Spanish and Burmese to hang in parishes and parish offices

*Updated 5/19/20

**Updated 6/18/20