UPDATED: May 23, 2021
During this COVID-19 pandemic, the Archdiocese of Denver and its parishes have strived to balance taking reasonable precautions to protect public health and promote the common good, while also continuing to minister to the spiritual needs of the faithful and provide access to the Mass and other Sacraments.
OBLIGATION: The obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days was restored by official decree in the Archdiocese of Denver effective on May 23, 2021. However, it is important for Catholics to know that the Church has always provided exceptions to the obligation, and that anyone with a “serious reason” or “grave cause” is excused from the obligation. In the case of this pandemic, “serious reason” and “grave cause” would include:
- Anyone who is sick, symptomatic, or has been recently exposed to the coronavirus. Protecting the health of others is an act of Christian charity and our moral duty to one another.
- Anyone with significant health risk factors that requires them to avoid public spaces, or if you care for someone with significant risk factors.
- Anyone who cannot attend Mass through no fault of their own, for example, if a parish has reached capacity.
Catholics are encouraged to consult with their pastor if they are unsure about their personal situation.
For more information and an FAQ on restoring the obligation please visit: archden.org/return.
PARISH PROTOCOLS: The state of Colorado has classified places of worship as essential. Every pastor and parish will continue to take steps to ensure in-person Masses are celebrated in a safe manner. Attendance limits may be set of each pastor with respect to parish size, available facilities, and current best practices.
The distribution of the Precious Blood remains suspended.
Please check with your local parish for additional details on scheduling and other instructions.
MASS LOCATIONS: Parishes may continue to use spaces other than the parish church for the celebration of Mass and the distribution of the Eucharist as long as they are adjacent to or on the same property of the parish or mission church.
WEDDINGS: As of May 23, 2021, future weddings must be scheduled to be celebrated inside churches or permitted chapels and sacred spaces. Ceremonies that have already been scheduled to be celebrated outdoors may still occur.
TV/ONLINE MASS: Catholics who aren’t able to go to Mass should continue to keep the Sabbath holy with intentional time in prayer including engagement in the readings for the day, which may be enhanced through watching a pre-recorded or livestreamed Mass and making a spiritual communion. TV Mass is available every Sunday on PBS12 at 6:30 a.m. in English and 7:00 a.m. in Spanish, and also on the Archdiocese of Denver YouTube page. Parishes may provide limited online options as well.
VACCINES: Whether or not to be inoculated with a vaccine for COVID-19 is a personal healthcare decision. In a December letter to the faithful, the bishops of Colorado have affirmed that receiving certain COVID-19 vaccines is morally acceptable, and Archbishop Aquila has encouraged Catholics to prayerfully discern their own decision once eligible. For a simple analysis of the degree that abortion-derived cell lines were used in the testing, development, and/or production of the vaccines, a helpful comparison chart can be found here. No person should be required to get the vaccine, nor should inoculation be used as a requirement for participation or admittance in either public or church sponsored events. For more information on where vaccines are available in your area, Colorado has a county by county resource page.
SUPPORT YOUR PARISH: Your parish is still actively supporting the faithful and their communities in this challenging time of need. For parishes that don’t have an online giving option, the faithful can use this link to support the ministry of their parish. Or if you prefer, the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal supports forty archdiocesan-wide ministries including Catholic Charities, the Office of Catholic Schools, and Centro San Juan Diego. Thank you for your generosity.