Liturgy & Sacraments Updates

Posted inNewsWorship

The current public health emergency has brought about a lot of fear, anxiety and questions about the celebration of Mass and the other Sacraments. This section on the Office of Worship webpage is intended to provide updates for those with specific questions about the liturgy.

Resumption of the Public Celebration of Mass

May 19, 2020 – Bishop Parkes sent a letter to all priests which includes the following statement regarding the resumption of public Masses on Sundays in the Diocese:

After considering the most recent guidance from government and health officials, consultation with my brother Bishops in the State of Florida and having heard from the Presbyteral Council of our Diocese, I wish to share with you what my prayer and discernment indicates should be our path forward. Acknowledging the legitimate concerns raised by our priests and faithful, I have concluded that the public celebration of Sunday Masses, beginning with the Solemnity of Pentecost (May 30-31, 2020) will be permitted to resume throughout the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Individual pastors need to decide, given their parish’s circumstances, when it is possible and prudent to resume Sunday Masses, whether on Pentecost or at some later date.

Christian Initiation of the Elect outside the Easter Vigil

March 27, 2020 – Bishop Gregory Parkes made the following announcement regarding the Christian Initiation of the Elect outside the Easter Vigil.

“I grant to pastors permission to DELAY the Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist of the Elect to another time outside the usual Easter Vigil (cf. RCIA nos. 26-30) at which time they may use the abbreviated form of initiation provided in the RCIA ritual book (cf. PART II. RITES FOR PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES, 2. Christian Initiation of Adults in Exceptional Circumstances, nos. 340-369). This should take place on a Sunday within the context of Mass (RCIA nos. 338-339) as soon as public worship is once again allowed.”

To assist parishes, we are providing below the ritual text as a WORD document so that clergy and RCIA directors can download it and adapt/change/format it to their particular parish situation:

  • Initiation of Adults in Exceptional Circumstances (ENGLISH)
  • Initiation of Adults in Exceptional Circumstances (SPANISH)

Holy Communion to the Sick & Homebound

May 12, 2020 – With the resumption of Daily Masses on May 11th and the gradual reintroduction of parish activities, Bishop Parkes addressed the question of whether visits to homebound parishioners should remain restricted to priests and deacons. In his statement to the priests he said:

In an effort to best model the needs of the homebound members in our communities, please be advised that Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs) may be permitted to assist with the distribution of Holy Communion to those who are homebound.

  • However, those who are elderly or at a higher risk of susceptibility due to existing health issues should not be permitted to carry out this function. It might be necessary to recruit additional EMHCs for this ministry.
  • Additionally, face coverings are to be worn and the appropriate social distancing must be observed other than when administering Holy Communion.
  • EMHCs should carry their own hand sanitizer and should apply it before and after distributing Holy Communion.

Baptism of Children

According to the May 5, 2020 Mass Protocols, the following information is related to the celebration of baptism of children:

  1. The baptism of children may be celebrated as long as social distancing and occupancy guidelines are observed.
  2. Only the newly revised Order of Baptism of Children (2020) is to be used.
  3. Precautions should be taken so the water for baptism is in separate vessels. Infusion (pouring of water) is the method to be used. The font should be drained and sanitized after the baptism.
  4. For the baptism of children, cotton balls may be used for the anointing after baptism, however, they should be collected and either burned or buried after the baptism.
  5. The candle and white garment should be pre-positioned so that the parents and godparents can have them without someone else handling them.
  6. The celebrant should not hold the child at any time.

Matrimony

According to the May 5, 2020 Mass Protocols, the following information is related to the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage:

  1. Weddings may be celebrated as long as social distancing and occupancy guidelines are observed.
  2. Only the revised Order of Celebrating Matrimony (2016) is to be used.

Funerals

According to the May 5, 2020 Mass Protocols, the following information is related to the celebration of Funerals:

  1. Funerals may be celebrated as long as social distancing and occupancy guidelines are observed.
  2. It is important to respect any guidelines and/or restrictions that have been placed on funeral homes.
  3. Only the rites within the Order of Christian Funerals (1989) are to be used.