Coronavirus: Frequently asked questions for the Faithful


Click on each question below to view or hide the response.

These questions are answered based on recommendations from local and state officials as of May 19, 2020. Answers are subject to change as updates are issued and we receive more information.

(en Español)

Mass will both look and feel different as we return to public worship. Churches will reopen at a 25% seating capacity. With fewer people at each Mass, it may not be possible for you to attend with regularity for the first few weeks, or even to attend on Sunday. Please check with your parish for additional information.

Yes. Pews will be taped off to achieve proper social distancing. Individuals who are not members of the same household will need to sit at least six feet away in all directions from others and to maintain a distance of six feet while processing up to the altar and returning to their pew during Communion.

Yes, all members of the faithful attending Mass who are two years old and older and able to medically tolerate a face covering will need to bring and wear their own appropriate face covering to attend Mass. Parents, we know this may be difficult with young children, please try your best. Holy Communion may not be received in the hand if you are wearing gloves.

Among a few changes: physical greetings will be omitted; the temporary suspension of the distribution of the Precious Blood remains in effect; collections baskets will not be passed. We encourage parishioners to give to their parish online or to drop contributions in a common basket provided by the parish upon your arrival or departure from Mass.

Ushers or a group of volunteers will be wiping down frequently-touched surfaces between Masses. Parishioners are encouraged to bring and use their own hand sanitizer.

Watch the LIVE broadcast of Sunday Mass each week from the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Grand Rapids at 10 a.m. ET. Available on the diocesan website, on Facebook or on TV on WXMI Fox 17. For the Holy Week live broadcast schedule and ways to watch online or on TV, click here.

In addition, EWTN offers the live broadcast of Sunday Mass at 8 a.m. and noon, and daily Mass in Spanish: Ver Misa Diaria | Calendario

Catholics are encouraged to make an act of spiritual Communion, a great source of grace; to pray the rosary, or meditate on Sacred Scripture to keep holy the Lord’s Day. We can also seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother asking for her intercession, consolation and for an end to the pandemic. Additional resources may be found here.

While public Masses are resuming in our churches, there are individuals who for various reasons such as age, or underlying health conditions, may be unable to attend public Masses during this time. We are also aware that not everyone will feel completely safe returning to Mass at this time. Because of this, the dispensation from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass remains through June 30.

(Arch) Bishops have the authority to suspend the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. The dispensation that is granted by the bishop means you are not committing a mortal sin by missing Mass.

The dispensation however, does not release Catholics from honoring the Lord's Day on Sunday. Catholics are encouraged to make a spiritual Communionpray the rosary, or meditate on Sacred Scripture to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Additional spiritual resources are available here.

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament may be resumed following COVID-19 guidelines for the diocese and the parish. Please contact the parish for details.

Adoration chapels may reopen following COVID-19 guidelines for the state, the diocese and the parish or organization with which the adoration chapel is associated.

Baptisms are to be held individually following the COVID-19 guidelines for the diocese and the church in which the baptism is being celebrated. Please contact the parish for additional information.

Weddings may be celebrated with or without a Mass following the COVID-19 guidelines for the diocese and the church in which the wedding is being celebrated. Please contact the parish for additional information.

For more information about getting married in the diocese, please click here.

It is important that we mourn with families. Funerals may be celebrated with or without a Mass following the COVID-19 guidelines for the diocese and the church in which the funeral is being celebrated.

Committal services at the cemetery may be celebrated outdoors with appropriate social distancing guidelines in place.

No, funeral luncheons may not be held during this initial reopening.

Once finalized, information will be released from your parish on a rescheduled date for spring 2020 confirmations.

No. Viaticum, however, may be taken to the dying. Our priests will continue to celebrate the sacrament of the anointing of the sick for those for whom death appears imminent due to sickness or old age.

These days of the COVID-19 pandemic and protective measures to prevent its spread can be anxious and unsettling times for us all. Visitor access to our hospitals is being limited to help prevent the spread of the virus. Please check with the admitting hospital for their current COVID-19 protocols and follow those. As permitted by hospital protocols, our priests will continue to celebrate the sacrament of the anointing of the sick for those for whom death appears imminent due to sickness or old age.

Our priests also are available to contact patients by phone. Please reach out to your pastor or associate pastor should the need arise. For a list of priests in the diocese, click here. For a list of parishes, click here.

Parish food pantries are open and are following instructions from local and state health officials.

At a time like this, we all have questions, many of them beginning with the word "Why?" It's especially important in this time to remember that while God does not remove us from difficulties in our lives, he walks with us and never ceases to care.

As our churches reopen for public worship, Catholics are asked to follow the guidelines for parishes and schools set out by Bishop Walkowiak to help prevent the spread of the virus. These guidelines are in accordance with directives issued by health experts at the national, state and local levels.

Catholics are also encouraged to pray. and, as we slowly return, to continue to go outside ourselves to help family members and neighbors to ensure that no one feels abandoned or discouraged or goes without, while practicing social distancing.