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Bishop's Guidelines For Outdoor Car Masses

Just in case you are having trouble locating the bishop's guidelines with which we must conform, here they are:





15 May 2020

  • COVID 19 is still a virulent contagious disease communicated between humans; masks should be worn outside wherever possible; handwashing with soap/water or alcohol-based sanitizer should take place; social distancing (6 feet) should continue; the dispensation from Sunday obligation and Easter duty remains in effect until further notice.
  • Those with a COVID 19 diagnosis or symptoms, those not feeling well, or in a  high risk category should NOT visit church or attend public Mass whether indoors or outdoors.
  • Pastors should consider offering an outdoor “in car” Mass if it can be done safely and in a dignified, worthy manner.
  • One only outdoor “in car” Mass per parish on Sunday
  • Weekday Mass may be offered at the Pastor’s discretion. 
  • Such Masses should be offered only if safety and dignity can be maintained.  
  • In parishes where Masses are offered in a language other than English, the pastor might consider a single bi-lingual Mass or offer one additional Mass if truly necessary.
  • All Pastors/parishes are not required to provide an outdoor “in car” Mass. 
  • Live-steamed Masses should be continued where currently practiced, even if an outdoor “ in car” Mass is provided.

Mass may be celebrated 

  • At an outdoor altar; Holy Communion may be distributed afterward at the parking lot exits as car leaves parking area.  A minister should be positioned at both sides of the vehicle. All sacred vessels should be appropriately purified immediately after use.
  • Live-streamed from inside the church with Holy Communion being distributed afterward in the manner described above.
  • Pastors should arrange for assistance from staff and should seek police assistance if possible to maintain order.  Volunteers should be identified and identifiable. Vehicles are to be parked six feet apart (e.g. every other parking space) so that windows can remain open; otherwise windows should remain closed.
  • No papers of any kind may be handed out or distributed.
  • The best manner for the distribution of Holy Communion (Cf. 5a above) should be determined, planned and announced by pastor with advice sought by parish leaders.  Hands must be sanitized periodically during the distribution of Holy Communion. Clergy and other ministers are to wear masks.  Communicants are to remove their masks immediately before receiving and replace it afterward.
  • Any physical contact with a communicant will require minister to sanitize before next distribution
  • Sanitizer must be readily available to the minister, perhaps held by staff wearing gloves
  • Communion in hand preferred
  • The pastor will determine, plan, and announce the manner of taking up the collection.  
  • Such Masses are experimental and should be discontinued if impractical or undignified.

Additional recommendations:

  •  FM transmission of audio, they must be on permitted FCC frequencies.
  •  The volume of an outside sound system should be properly regulated and in accord with municipal noise ordinances.  
  • The outdoor “in car” Mass may be simulcast.

This permission is temporary and in effect from May 18, 2020 until rescinded by the Bishop.

Approved by Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M., J.C.D.

Bishop of Trenton, May 15, 2020.