Catholic churches that are safely able to do so can now resume collective acts of worship, for example the celebration of Mass. This guidance is designed to help parish priests comply with the government's public health and social distancing requirements.
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Priests in Catholic churches that are safely able to do so celebrate Mass, whilst complying with the government’s social distancing requirements.
The government has announced that face coverings have to be worn in places of worship unless a person has an exemption from this.
As of 28 September 2020, an additional consideration is the ‘Rule of Six‘ and a change in the number of people permitted at what the government terms ‘life cycle events’ – celebrations such as weddings.
Our church-related coronavirus guidance is kept up-to-date.
Links to specific guidance can be found here:
As these celebrations take place within the context of the Parish Mass, the conditions outlined for the Sacraments of Initiation of Adults apply. The careful application of social distancing rules should be applied for family groups attending these celebrations.
As the sacramental celebration of Confirmation normally takes place within the context of a Parish Mass, the number of people who can attend will be limited to the secure capacity determined by the COVID-19 risk assessment for the church building.
Again, people attending must remain within their groups of six and observe strict social distancing between each separate group.
Care should be taken to ensure that family groups with sponsors etc do not interact with other groups of six.
Catechetical activities such as sacramental preparation sessions are not considered as being affected by the Rule of Six, as these are formal Religious Education and Formation sessions.
The guidance offered by local dioceses for good practice should be adhered to (for example having fixed groups of children and young people with a catechist) in all cases.
Choirs and music groups are also not considered to be restricted by this Rule as they come under the realms of the Performing Arts Guidance which recognises choirs and music groups during liturgies and their rehearsal periods as a performing art, and therefore are subject to that particular set guidance.
You can download our guidance documents as PDFs:
|Mass: COVID-19 Guidance||28 September 2020|
|Concelebration at Mass: COVID-19 Guidance||28 September 2020|
|Confession: COVID-19 Guidance||28 September 2020|
|Baptisms: COVID-19 Guidance||2 October 2020|
|Funerals: COVID-19 Guidance||28 September 2020|
|Weddings: COVID-19 Guidance||28 September 2020|
|Pastoral Care of the Sick||28 September 2020|
|Adult Initiation (RCIA): COVID-19 Guidance||2 October 2020|
This guidance is intended to assist Parish Priests to facilitate collective worship safely (i.e. providing the least possible risk of transmission of the virus). The guidance has been compiled with detailed public health advice and scrutiny and complies with the principles established by Government.
The UK Government has published its advice on the safe use of places of worship.
The Welsh Government has published its guidelines on the safe use of places of worship.