Updated August 3, 2020
“In the past months people from around the world and, now, our own communities are learning about viruses and community health. Like so many other groups and organizations that regularly meet and congregate, churches have been asked to meet the challenges set before us. Rest assured that your local priests and I are working hard to make responsible decisions about meeting the pastoral and spiritual needs of the faithful while exercising prudence.
In response to the COVID-19 public health threat to our Church family and community, the Diocese of Charlotte has put in place a number of measures to protect the faithful.
- The obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended for all Catholics of the diocese until further notice. Please exercise prudential judgment in deciding whether to attend Mass. People who are ill or vulnerable to infection are strongly encouraged to stay at home and attend Mass virtually on TV or streamed live online. The dispensation from Mass does not remove the obligation to keep the Lord’s Day holy: seek to refrain from work, spend time in prayer individually and as a family, and extend charity to others. If you are unable to attend Mass, you are encouraged to make a spiritual communion:
In the pastor’s prudential judgment and in accord with liturgical norms, parishes may offer indoor Masses and/or continue with outdoor Masses, provided that they meet applicable public health directives to promote social distancing and reduce transmission of the coronavirus, including:
- Maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between individuals (except family/household groups);
- Wearing masks or cloths that cover the nose and mouth;
- Practicing cleaning and best hygiene practices, including frequent handwashing and sanitizing high-touch surfaces between services.
The Diocese of Charlotte’s 19 Catholic schools will open this fall for in-person instruction, school leaders have announced, yet also will offer remote learning options for students who opt to stay at home due to health concerns.
The schools will follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to ensure the safest possible learning environment – including health screenings, frequent cleaning and handwashing, face coverings, safe distancing, protective barriers and other protocols to keep students and staff healthy and safe.
Following guidelines from CDC and state officials, “in-person” Faith Formation opportunities have been delayed. In response, the Diocesan Office for Faith Formation is providing online resources for individuals and parents who wish to stay engaged in the spiritual development of their children.
All parish catechetical leaders are encouraged to consider alternative ways to promote at-home faith formation during these unprecedented times. Since most parishes purchase faith formation materials from a publisher, the first step for many parish catechetical program leaders is to contact your local/regional sales representative who can provide information about how to access online curriculum and/or other digital materials.
Public Health Resources
The Diocese of Charlotte continues to monitor this evolving public health threat closely, and we remain committed to keeping you informed. This information will be updated as needed.
— Diocese of Charlotte Communications Office