Start date: March 18, 2020 - End date: April 4, 2020

Guidance on Masses, ministries and the sacraments

March 27, 2020

Based on updated guidance from public officials regarding the continued need to further limit the numbers of people gathered, and particularly as more local communities issue “stay at home” directives so as to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the suspension of all public daily and weekend Masses in the Diocese of Raleigh continues until further notice.

The following directives are also established until further notice in conjunction with the above:

  • All gatherings in parishes also are suspended effective immediately until further notice, including faith formation, CCD, RCIA, Stations of the Cross, Adoration, etc. Exceptions to “stay at home” orders have provided provisions allowing for the video streaming of religious services with appropriate health precautions and limitations of numbers of essential participants.

Ideally, any virtual Masses should be live when broadcast, not recorded. Please see here for additional USCCB guidance re: televising the liturgy. Celebrations of the Mass which are live-streamed may not include public distribution of Holy Communion before or after the broadcast. Masses in open areas around the property of our churches are also strongly discouraged.

  • All Penance Services, School Masses and Healing Masses are cancelled.
  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation is to be suspended except for those in danger of death. All other means of providing the Sacrament should cease. In particular the practice being observed of “stational penance” via automobile “drive throughs,” etc., should be discontinued. In addition, it needs to be noted and communicated that an indulgence has been offered by the Holy See. Please educate your parishioners on this important measure provided to you and to them during this time.
  • In the current state of the pandemic, great care should be taken with the celebration of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. While the full prescribed ritual for anointing may not always be possible given the status of an infected person, please follow the guidance outlined in Canon Law, which offers us:Can. 1000 §1. The anointings with the words, order, and manner prescribed in the liturgical books are to be performed carefully. In a case of necessity, however, a single anointing on the forehead or even on some other part of the body is sufficient, while the entire formula is said.

    §2. The minister is to perform the anointings with his own hand, unless a grave reason warrants the use of an instrument.

    If an instrument such as a cotton ball or cotton swab or gauze is used, please only use such instrument once, collecting all used instruments to destroy as conveniently as possible.

    In the event an anointing cannot take place, then prayer over the sick and with the family of the sick is most appropriate and will offer consolation and hope. In these instances, suggested prayers, that do not mention anointing with oil from the ritual, are selections B, E, and G under Prayer after Anointing, Anointing in a Hospital or an Institution in Pastoral Care of the Sick. In as far as it is possible, Viaticum should be administered to the dying and those in danger of death.

  • Confirmations have been suspended. Celebrations of the sacrament are being evaluated on a week by week basis. Provisions will be made for the eventual delegation of faculties for pastors to confirm candidates at the earliest convenience.
  • During the Season of Lent baptism should only be administered in danger of death. Celebrations of the Sacrament of Baptism should be suspended until after the lifting of restrictions on gatherings.
  • For the foreseeable future, funerals should be simple graveside services with a small gathering of immediate family. A memorial Mass may be celebrated at a later date.
  • Weddings should adhere to “stay at home” directives limiting gatherings. Broadly, across the Diocese of Raleigh, weddings should consist of gatherings of 10 or less and must use the Rite of Marriage Outside of Mass.
  • Additional directives on the celebration of the liturgies of Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum are forthcoming. These liturgies, however, are all to be live-streamed, with only essential ministers and ministries necessary to conduct the liturgies and rituals present.

Diocese of Raleigh News
19 ways to keep an active faith amidst COVID-19
March 24, 2020

Catholics around the world are stepping up to answer that question. Here are 19 ideas from around the diocese to be active in your faith and a light for others.

1. Watch Mass as a family at home. The Diocese of Raleigh website has added an online spiritual resource page to help you find Masses that are being streamed online.

2. Read Scripture. In addition to your Bible, a number of Catholic resources have granted free access to their online catalogs during this time. These include Liturgical Press, Magnificat and The Word Among Us. Visit their websites to see readings, reflections and more. The USCCB is also a great resource.

3. Utilize technology to keep close to loved ones. FaceTime grandparents so they can see their grandkids smiling! Send video messages to teachers who are doing a great job keeping students learning. Send photo texts to aunts and uncles and let them know you’re thinking about them. Social media is great, but using technology to check in one-on-one is important too!

4. Speaking of social media, now is a great time to see how social media has been feeding your mind and soul. What do you see on your feed? Is it filled with anger and judgment, or is it filled with love and teaching? Many of your favorite priests: Father Mike Schmitz, Bishop Robert Barron and more have active social media profiles that will help keep your faith front and center!

5. Reflect on what you miss. Did you notice how much more you wanted to go to Mass when you were told you can’t? This is a time for strength but also to cultivate our gratitude for the freedoms we have enjoyed our entire lives.

6. Reflect on what you don’t miss. On the other hand, did you almost feel a little relief when some activities and get-togethers were suspended or canceled? How much do we fill up our lives with things that just keep us busy? When this time ends, can we be more mindful of how we spend our time?

7. Listen. Turn off the screens and turn on the radio. There are many Catholic radio stations throughout the diocese with programs, information and prayer broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

8. Create with others in mind! Retirement communities and nursing homes have been hit tremendously hard. Visitors aren’t allowed and group activities have shut down. In light of this, many are asking for volunteers to send cards and pictures to brighten the day of some of our most vulnerable. Create a card of love and joy and send it to someone who may need a smile.

9. Practice gratitude daily. If you are reading this, you have access to technology. What an incredible advantage we have over every other period of history! Instead of focusing on what we’ve lost, be thankful for what we have.

10. Smile, wave and say hello when you’re out for a walk or getting the mail. You never know who may be in desperate need of a smile, and the CDC has not banned that yet!

11. Contact Catholic CharitiesCatholic Parish Outreach and your parish office to determine if there are any needs you can fill. Many of our volunteers are those in more vulnerable categories. Are there shifts that you can fill, deliveries that you can make, or money you can give to ensure that the most vulnerable are still cared for in this time?

12. Donate your goods. No time like now to realize how many things you don’t need. If you’re stuck in your home for weeks, and you still don’t touch those board games or DVDs, you never will.

13. Continue to pay your bills and pledges as you are able to do so. If you are not facing financial hardship, consider continuing to support the services you normally use. Look into online giving for your parish. Offer to pay, partially pay, or give gift cards to piano teachers, hair stylists, tutors, etc., who didn’t have much time to plan for their services and income being canceled.

14. Be responsible. If Masses and school are canceled, now is not the time to let your children have a sleepover or to organize a block party. As tempting as it may be, and as much as our children may beg, we all need to do our part to flatten the curve.

15. Go outside! How blessed are we that the weather (though filled with pollen) is beautiful? There is nothing prohibiting us from walks or having picnics on our lawn!

16. But stay home! If you exhibit symptoms, please don’t assume that it’s allergies or ‘nothing.’ If you need something from the store, many people have volunteered to go to the store so that those with symptoms can stay home. It may seem like an odd thing to say that the best way you can practice your faith is sitting home, but that is how you protect those most at risk.

17. If your parish has an adoration chapel, consider contacting the hourly coordinator to offer being a sub. Not only will it prove to be incredible balm for your soul, but many regular adorers may be in a higher risk category.

18. Check on your elderly neighbors. If you have their phone numbers, give them a call, see if they need groceries or medicine and offer to leave it on their porch for them. If you don’t have their numbers, leave a note in their mailbox with your phone number.

19. As Mr. Rogers’ mom told him, “Look for the helpers.” If you are active on social media or watch the news, it could be easy to get distracted and upset by the actions or the words of some. But if you ‘look for the helpers,’ there is so much good that is happening too. Teachers are learning new ways to create meaningful experiences for their students. Priests, musicians, writers and more are opening their homes to offer prayers, singalongs and stories to people around the globe through the internet. Most of all, healthcare workers and first responders still answer the call, nonstop, to put their own lives on the line to help others. It may take a shift in focus, but when you look, there truly is a breathtaking amount of good in the world right now.


The Bishop has notified us that due “to the great need to further limit the numbers of people gathered, so as to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I have asked that all public daily and weekend Masses in the Diocese of Raleigh be suspended at this time until further notice.”  The full text of this notice may be read at:
Therefore, for the duration – ALL masses at Sacred Heart have been cancelled, including the funeral mass on Friday, communion services and adoration.  All church meetings and group gatherings with over ten people are also cancelled.
Please, stay home, take care… and PRAY!