Public Masses suspended, beginning March 18, 2020
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
I know you join me in concern for all who are being affected by the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Today, I am announcing that all public Masses will be suspended in the Diocese of Jefferson City, beginning on Wednesday, March 18 and until at least April 3.
This is in keeping with the federal directives and other public entities in our area. We offer this decision as part of our effort to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
This means all Catholics are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass in person. Online opportunities are listed on our website, and some parishes will be able to provide online Masses. Catholics are encouraged to check with their local parish regarding online Masses.
In addition, parishes have been instructed to make the following changes, beginning March 18:
- All public gatherings are cancelled or postponed. This includes public weddings. More information on baptisms, funerals and other liturgical protocols can be found here.
- Confirmation Masses will be rescheduled to be celebrated after Easter Sunday.
- During this time, churches will remain open as places of prayer and comfort. Priests will be available in the parishes to offer anointing of the sick and other sacraments. You are encouraged to seek the sacrament of anointing of the sick before you go to the hospital, if possible.
- I ask you to be mindful of your responsibility to serve the community in your time, talent and treasure in this extraordinary hour of need. You may register your volunteer capacity on our website. Parishes are organizing disaster responder teams to serve those immediately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Please continue your tithes to your parishes by postal mail or online, if the parish offers that option.
- Diocesan schools, which are suspending in-school instruction from March 18 to April 3, are providing ongoing instruction either online or packet-based, on a case-by-case basis. While diocesan offices and parish offices will remain open, some employees may work remotely or need to take leave to care for themselves or their families. Some parishes may reduce office hours. Regardless, all diocesan and parish employees will continue to receive compensation.
I am grateful to all who are working tirelessly to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. I pray the efforts we are doing, as a people of faith, will provide tangible support, encouragement and spiritual hope to our communities.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Rev. W. Shawn McKnight
Bishop of Jefferson City