Returning to Public Mass

We all long for the day when we can gather with our entire parish community for the celebration of the Eucharist. We value the communal nature of the Mass and we know that when any part of our community is missing, the celebration is lacking.  However, we are also aware of our obligation to respect the dignity of every human life.  Because of this, and out of a sense of Christian charity, we must celebrate the Mass with restrictions for the time being.  Please be patient as your pastor and parish staffs do their best to implement this guidance. 


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

Below is a brief Q&A on the guidance that was given to pastors and parishes. Please note: How the guidelines are implemented will vary parish to parish-based on a number of factors including the health of the pastor, parish size, available facilities, and county-specific health orders. Not every parish will immediately begin public Masses on May 20.

  • Public Masses may be celebrated in the Diocese of Owensboro beginning May 20, 2020.
  • Not all parishes will be able to celebrate Mass as early as May 20 due to the age or health of the pastor or because of the parish’s inability to meet the guidelines for public worship. This determination will be left up to the discretion of the pastor.

  • 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 feet of physical distancing will need to be maintained between all of the faithful except for those who live in the same home.
  • **In order to facilitate physical distancing, each church may accommodate only 50% of its capacity. Expect to see some pews roped off.  Please check with your parish to determine if there is an attendance reservation plan in place.
  • *Everyone attending Mass must wear a face mask. Those unable to wear a face mask throughout the entire liturgy, whether it be due to age (the CDC does not recommend those under the age of two to wear a mask), health condition, or preference, are asked to worship at home. 
  • 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 feet from other ministers.
  • 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.
  • There will be no singing except by the cantor.
  • 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.
  • 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 feet of distance must be maintained in the Communion procession.
  • 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.

  • The worship space and high traffic areas will be cleaned and sanitized after each Mass.
  • Hymnals and missalettes are removed from the pews.
  • Bathrooms are limited to one person at a time and will be cleaned after each Mass.

  • Effective May 20, 2020 weddings and funerals may be celebrated in our parishes while adhering to these guidelines.

Pulpit Announcements for Parishes in the Diocese of Owensboro

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

*Updated 5/19/20

**Updated 6/18/20