Bishop Kettler: New COVID-19 protocols for our Diocese

May 10, 2021

Dear pastor,

Gov. Walz's most recent executive order eliminates most of the state's COVID-19

restrictions by May 28. In light of this order, I will be making significant changes to our

diocese's pandemic protocols for parish events and liturgies that will take effect later

this month. Please read this letter in its entirety and consider making it available to your

parishioners via a pulpit announcement and/or in your Sunday bulletins.

First, I want to thank all of our clergy, parish and school staff, and parishioners who

have abided by our protocols for over a year now. I firmly believe that adherence to

these protocols prevented many more people from becoming ill and saved lives. We

Catholics are called to protect life and care for our neighbors, and your willingness to

follow our diocese's requirements have been a great witness to these teachings.

In light of the governor's announcement, these changes will be made to our diocesan


Effective May 23, the Solemnity of Pentecost (including vigil Masses on the

evening of May 22), the following will be allowed:

• Holy water in stoups and fonts

• Altar servers holding the Roman Missal/Book and assisting with the lavabo

• Music: The four hymns (for the gathering, preparation of gifts, Communion and

recessional) along with sequences

• Passing collection baskets

• Gift procession

• Sign of peace

• Communion under both species and on the tongue

Face coverings must still be worn at Mass and indoor parish events. The Sunday Mass

obligation remains suspended until further notice.

Please remind parishioners to be sensitive to those in your parish who may choose to

not yet come to Mass or participate in some aspects of the liturgy (e.g. handshaking at

the sign of peace) because of health conditions or other concerns. Please make a

special effort to ensure all feel welcomed and included during these times of ongoing


Effective Friday, May 28:

• In line with the governor's executive order, all remaining capacity and physical-

distancing limits will come to an end, including for Mass and other indoor parish events

and gatherings.

• Parishes may resume funeral luncheons and wedding receptions as they are able.

Food may once again be served at parish events.

• Festivals and similar parish celebrations may resume in their pre-pandemic forms.

• Face coverings are still required at all indoor events, including Mass. Masks are also

required at outdoor events that exceed 500 people.

Effective Thursday, July 1:

• Face coverings will no longer be required at Mass and other events.

Although these restrictions are being removed at the diocesan level, pastors have the

authority and my support to retain any of the current protocols past the dates listed

above if they deem them to be in the interest of the health and safety of their

parishioners. Catholic schools will continue to follow the protocols specific to them until

the end of the school year.

As we continue to make progress against the coronavirus and our state returns to a

degree of normalcy, I encourage you — if you haven't already — to receive one of the

available COVID-19 vaccines and encourage your parishioners to do the same. The

availability of the vaccine is a key reason we are able to take these steps in our state

and our diocese, and our continued progress against the virus is contingent on as many

people as possible receiving the vaccine.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Donald J. Kettler

Bishop, Diocese of Saint Cloud