Changes in Mask and Capacity Requirements for Liturgical Gatherings
Issued May 25, 2021
Please read over carefully and note the changes in mask requirements as of May 28, 2021 and indoor capacity as of June 4, 2021.
With these directives, we want to ensure that we celebrate the liturgy joyfully and safely and move to a new phase in welcoming all back to our parishes.
New Jersey Bishops Reinstating
the General Obligation to Attend Mass
May 20, 2021
Due to the observance of public safety protocols and the increase in the availability of vaccines, the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey are lifting the dispensation from the Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligation beginning on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Saturday, June 5, 2021, and Sunday, June 6, 2021). They welcome the Christian faithful to return to the regular participation in the Sunday Eucharist, the source and summit of our Catholic faith (cf. Code of Canon Law canon 1247 and Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2180).
This obligation does not apply to those who are ill; those who have reason to believe that they were recently exposed to the coronavirus or another serious or contagious illness; those who are confined to their home, a hospital, or nursing facility; or those with serious underlying health conditions. One should consult the local pastor if questions arise about the obligation to attend Mass (canon 87).
Words on Worship Podcast Premieres
Words on Worship is a new podcast hosted by Fr. Tom Dente from the Office of Divine Worship. It is an audio newsletter about liturgy for clergy and parish leadership of the archdiocese.
It is available at https://www.rcan.org/offices-and-ministries/divine-worship/wordsonworship.
The inaugural episode, Easter 2021, of Words on Worship features an important change to the conclusion of the collects and other prayers used during the liturgy; recent additions to the General Roman Calendar; an introduction of the new associate director of the office, Robert Evers; information on the Ascension of the Lord and a remembrance of Msgr. Charles Gusmer.
Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich
Introduction & Collect are available here.
Transfer of the Ascension of the Lord
Updated May 5, 2021
Cardinal Tobin in consultation with the other bishops of New Jersey, has decreed that the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is transferred from Thursday, May 13, 2021 to Sunday, May 16, 2021, replacing the Seventh Sunday of Easter.
Please note that this transferal is in effect only for the current liturgical year.
Official Decree is available here.
Website & Bulletin Announcement is available here.
Reflection on the Ascension of the Lord 2021 is available here.
Guidelines for 2021 Celebrations of Confirmation
Updated April 20, 2021
Cardinal Tobin has granted delegation to all pastors and administrators to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for children baptized in infancy and to pastors, administrators and chaplains to confirm adult (18+) baptized Catholics. These delegations extend through December 31, 2021.
The the specifics of these delegations and the Guidelines for 2021 Celebrations of Confirmation are available here.
Use of Holy Water Update
Updated March 29,2021
- Holy water may not be kept in baptismal fonts or receptacles at the doors of the church. Large holy water dispensers, where individuals can fill containers are permitted.
- Small containers of holy water may be blessed and distributed as appropriate.
- A fresh supply of water should be blessed and used for each baptismal ceremony.
- The water may be blessed in pitcher(s) and poured over each person to be baptized. The water should never be reused and should be removed after the ceremony.
- The Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling of Water may be used instead of the Penitential Act as a reminder of baptism.
- In places where a sprinkling is desired, fresh water must be blessed each time and reverently disposed of after each liturgy.
Holy Week 2021
2021 Holy Week Questions & Answers (Please read the directives first)
Sacramentals Update: Palm Sunday, Ash Wednesday, and Memorial of Saint Blaise
Following are guidelines for the Memorial of Saint Blaise blessing of throats, Ash Wednesday distribution of ashes, and the distribution of palms on Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. They still require wearing masks and social distancing by presiders, ministers and recipients, as stated in all of our diocesan directives. Also included are updates on the use of Holy Water. READ THE UPDATE
Music during the Pandemic
Mass for Various Needs and Occasions 'In Time of Pandemic'
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has issued new texts for a Mass for Various Needs and Occasions "In Time of Pandemic". "This Mass can be celebrated, according to the rubrics given for Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, on any day except Solemnities, the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, days within the Octave of Easter, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day), Ash Wednesday and the days of Holy Week."
Year of Saint Joseph
Daily Gospel Readings