These resources have been compiled to address concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are continually monitoring the situation at all levels within the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. Bishop Knestout has instructed all parishes, schools, campus ministries, and residential adult care centers within the Diocese to implement the precautions listed below. This page will be updated as the situation evolves.
Impacts to Diocesan Facilities and Programs*
(updated 3/27/20 at 10:00 a.m.)
- All parishes are open on a normal schedule for private prayer, individual meetings for pastoral care and reconciliation with a priest, essential meetings, and social ministry efforts with restrictions. Contact your local parish for specific details.
- *UPDATED* All diocesan schools are closed to students through the remainder of the 2019 – 2020 academic year; however, remote/digital learning will continue for all Catholic school students through the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year.
- The Diocesan Pastoral Center in Richmond is operating on a normal schedule; however, all employees are telecommuting so are not available in the building. All employees can be reached through their regular email or voicemails during normal business hours.
- All other diocesan facilities, including campus ministries and residential adult care centers are operating on a normal schedule.
- Staff should take extra care to clean all high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones, keyboards, etc. The CDC provides complete disinfection guidance at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html
- All liturgies, including Sunday, Holy Day, and weekday Masses, are suspended until further notice except for absolutely necessary baptisms, weddings, and funerals which may be celebrated with only immediately family members not to exceed 10 participants.
- Bishop Knestout will livestream his private celebration of Sunday Mass until further notice for the faithful. For further details, visit www.richmonddiocese.org/livestream.
- All Confirmation liturgies are suspended until further notice.
- All in-person parish formation activities, programs, or gatherings of any kind should be cancelled effective immediately until further notice, unless it is absolutely essential and cannot be done virtually. It is recommended to move these activities to an online or virtual format so the ministerial and administrative functions of a parish can continue. Social outreach to the poor and vulnerable may continue with appropriate restrictions prescribed by the diocese and government agencies. Contact your parish for specific details.
- All visitations to our seven Residential Adult Care Centers (Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Marion Manor, Our Lady of Hope, St. Mary’s Woods, St. Francis Home, Our Lady of Peace, and Our Lady of the Valley) are suspended. If a resident requests a visit from a member of the clergy for the sacraments, such requests will be accommodated by the Residential Adult Care Center.
*Due to the rapidly evolving situation, this information will be updated as changes occur.
Precautions for Masses
- Until further notice, Bishop Knestout has granted a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days for all the faithful in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.
- Remove Holy Water from Baptismal and Holy Water fonts.
- In the rare occasion when Mass is celebrated for a wedding or funeral, the following precautions remain:
- Cease distribution of the Precious Blood (Christ is fully present under both species of the Blessed Sacrament).
- Refrain from shaking hands during the Sign of Peace (bow or verbal gesture is appropriate).
- Refrain from holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.
Additional Considerations for Safety
- All liturgical vessels should be cleaned with soap and water after each Mass, including any pyx that will be taken to a nursing home, hospital, the homebound, etc.
- Priests, Deacons and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist should practice good hand hygiene washing their hands before Mass and using hand sanitizer to cleanse hands before and after the distribution of Holy Communion.
Information for Individuals
- Anyone who is ill, or suspects he or she is ill, should refrain from participation in public activities, including Mass. Those who are homebound may watch weekly Sunday Mass online at adw.org/tvmass, ewtn.com/tv/watch-live/united-states, or from your local parish (if available).
- For those who are traveling, please follow the guidance issued from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Practice good personal health habits. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then, throw the tissue in the trash. Hands should be washed often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Educate yourself on the coronavirus. The resources linked below contain more information on the coronavirus from the CDC as well a link to the Virginia Department of Health resources.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Virginia Department of Health
USCCB Memo on Liturgical Celebrations and Public Health Concerns (February 27, 2020)
Coronavirus Prayer Card from USCCB (En español)
Magnificat – Free Online Version MagnifiKID! – Free Online Resources for Children
Words of Hope & Encouragement form Bishop Knestout
Communications to the Diocese
Message from Superintendent of Schools (March 25, 2020)
COVID-19 Test Results are Negative for Bishop of Richmond (March 23, 2020)
Schools Coronavirus Letter (March 18, 2020)
Bishop Barry C. Knestout Self-Quarantines as a Precaution (March 18, 2020)
Bishop Knestout Directs the Suspension of All Public Masses in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond (March 17, 2020)
Bishop Knestout Writes Letter to the Faithful in Regard to COVID-19 (March 17, 2020)
Bishop Knestout Grants Dispensation Regarding Mass for Specific Individuals (March 12, 2020)
Bishop Knestout Authorizes Further Safety Guidelines in Response to the Coronavirus (March 11, 2020)
Schools Coronavirus Letter (March 5, 2020)
Statement from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond on Guidance Regarding Coronavirus (February 27, 2020)
Schools Coronavirus Letter (February 27, 2020)