Although Christmas is different this year due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, more than 200 parishes in the four counties of Archdiocese of Newark (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union) continue to celebrate Mass at reduced church capacities and/or livestream Masses online while adhering to mandated guidelines and liturgical norms to observe the Catholic faith in a meaningful and safe manner.
This week, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, will celebrate Christmas Eve Mass at midnight Dec. 24 in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart via livestream to allow more people to participate virtually and experience the joy of Christmas on the eve of our Savior’s birth.
The livestream will be available on the Cathedral Basilica’s social media channels at www.youtube.com/SacredHeartCathedralBasilica or www.facebook.com/SacredHeartCathedralBasilica. More information is available at www.NewarkBasilica.org.
Schedules for Masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the parishes of Archdiocese of Newark will vary and most parishes will require registration. Parishioners are encouraged to visit their local parish website for details.
Currently, Archdiocesan churches are limited in capacity to 25% of occupancy or 150 parishioners, whichever is less, while maintaining social distancing. Parishes may add additional Masses to their Christmas schedule to accommodate more people and to allow for social distancing and time to clean and sanitize between Masses. For this year only, an early Christmas Eve Mass may be celebrated beginning at 2 p.m.
Cardinal Tobin’s dispensation from in-person Mass attendance remains in effect until the COVID-19 health crisis is abated. All parishioners are encouraged to avail themselves of technology to participate in the livestreaming of Mass and to remain united in prayer for our communities and beyond.
In accord with national, state, and local health directives, individuals who show symptoms of COVID-19, who have been exposed to an infected person, or who have traveled to unsafe places listed on the CDC.gov website, are not permitted to enter an Archdiocesan church for 14 days. It is recommended that before Mass, individuals should check their temperature at home before arriving at church. Those who are at risk because of an underlying health issue are strongly encouraged to avoid the risks posed by attendance at public celebrations of the Mass.
Masks must be properly worn by all individuals while in church. Six feet of distance must be maintained between households and individuals attending liturgy in alternating pews.
Additional information on Archdiocesan “Directives for Celebrating Christmas During Covid-19” are available online at www.rcan.org/covid19 .
For a list of local parish livestreams, visit www.rcan.org/parishsupport and click on the “Parish Livestreams” tab. This website also allows the faithful an opportunity to exercise their stewardship of their parish and to support parishes in need.
For the most up-to-date news, resources, and information about the Archdiocese of Newark, visit www.rcan.org or Archdiocesan social media channels @NwkArchdiocese.