Guidelines to Help Our Parishioners

The Diocese of Harrisburg has produced guidelines to help our parishioners and parishes safely practice the faith during COVID-19. As restrictions continued to be modified and lifted, below are the Diocesan guidelines, recommendations and resources to assist you during this time. The Diocese continues to review the directives from the Governor’s Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will review and amend these directives when needed.

Please see the Liturgy and Sacraments Guidelines section below for directives and guidelines regarding Mass attendance. (Updated August 12, 2021)

Prayer to Our Lady Imploring Her Protection

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee, joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the Father’s will and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

The Diocese strongly recommends that those who are sick, have a compromised immune system or are considered more vulnerable continue to remain home at this time.

Current Diocesan guidelines include:

  • Mass Obligation: The obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day Mass in person will be reinstated, as of August 15, 2021. However, by longstanding Church law, this obligation does not apply to those who are:
    • Sick
    • Have a serious health risk
    • In a household with those at risk
    • Primary caregivers to those at risk
    • Have serious anxiety or concerns about being in a large-group setting due to COVID-19
    • Unable to attend Mass in person

As an act of charity, anyone who believes they might have COVID-19 or one of its variants or have been exposed should stay home. Catholics who meet these criteria are urged to spend time in prayer, meditating on the Death and Resurrection of the Lord, reading the Sacred Scriptures and viewing a broadcast of the Mass. Please see this recent statement from the bishops of Pennsylvania.

  • Attending Mass: Anyone who is sick, has COVID-19 symptoms or has recently been exposed to the virus should stay home. Those who have a compromised immune system or who are more susceptible to the virus should also continue to remain home.
  • Masks/Face Coverings: Masks are to be worn for the distribution of Holy Communion by all priests, deacons, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion during the celebration of Holy Mass and outside the celebration of Holy Mass. This includes visits to the sick and homebound and applies even to those who are vaccinated.
    • Masks are to be worn by ushers and greeters whenever they are exercising their service. When they return to their pews for the celebration of Holy Mass, they may choose to lower their masks.
    • While there is no mask requirement for parishioners at this time, each parishioner is strongly encouraged to make a responsible decision about the use of masks and vaccinations following in the examples of all Pennsylvania Bishops, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who have all been vaccinated for the common good.
  • Parish Protocols: There are no occupancy limits in place for Masses. Please contact your parish directly for more information on any changes to Mass schedules. Public Masses may also take place in church halls, outdoors and in church parking lots. The Sign of Peace and Holy Water fonts may be used again. Hymnals, missals, missalettes, and Bibles may be returned to the pews. All those distributing Holy Communion are to sanitize their hands prior to the distribution and during the distribution if there has been contact with a recipient. Parishioners are also encouraged to sanitize their hands after using hymnals and before receiving Holy Communion. Distribution of the Most Precious Blood is still suspended at this time.
  • Music: There are no restrictions on choirs. Congregations are invited to sing and respond during the Sacred Liturgy.
  • Parish Cleaning: Cleaning may be restored to pre-COVID methods, but pew sanitization should continue periodically. However, if a positive case is reported, cleaning and sanitizing will take place before the next Mass.
  • Sacraments: All sacraments can be restored to pre-COVID methods. Please contact your local parish for specific details on receiving Sacraments.

My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

As our world continues to suffer due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I ask that you join me in continuing to pray for an end to this pandemic. I also ask that you continue to offer prayers and gratitude for those in medical and emergency response professions. Their efforts have been nothing short of heroic during this year.

As we all eagerly await the release of the COVID-19 vaccine, I write to you to clarify concerns on the moral and ethical development of these vaccines. Of most concern is that these vaccines may have been developed in a way that involved the use of cell lines from aborted babies. This is concerning, especially to Catholics, but it is also a very complex matter. Given the complex nature of this situation, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) carefully evaluated each of the expected vaccines as they relate to Catholic Moral Teaching. They stated that: “Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine involved the use of cell lines that originated in fetal tissue taken from the body of an aborted baby at any level of design, development, or production. They are not completely free from any connection to abortion, however, as both Pfizer and Moderna made use of a tainted cell line for one of the confirmatory lab tests of their products. There is thus a connection, but it is relatively remote.”

I certainly understand the deep desire to avoid vaccines that are in any way connected to abortion. To aid our understanding and clarify teachings regarding vaccines and our Catholic faith, the Holy See has published several documents during the past 15 years to address these concerns. These documents do state that it is immoral to take the tissue from an aborted child for the purpose of making cell lines. However, these documents also state that, “If there is a grave health risk to the child or the person, and if there is no other option, and if the person taking the vaccine or the parent makes their objections known and actively works to see that alternatives are brought to the market, then they may use the vaccines.” In short, if there is a serious health concern and there are no other options, then on the level of the recipient, it is morally permissible to accept vaccination.

Based on this information, I wish to reassure you, my Catholic brothers and sisters, that once the vaccines are available and if you choose to receive it after considering the information above, it is morally permissible to do so. Some are asserting that if a vaccine is connected in any way with tainted cell lines, then it is immoral to be vaccinated with them. This is an inaccurate portrayal of Catholic moral teaching.

I thank each of you for your continued observance of our Diocesan guidelines as we strive to maintain safe worship spaces as well as school and work environments. I also pray for your continued good health and for the health of all those impacted by this pandemic.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer
Bishop of Harrisburg

 

Moral Considerations Regarding COVID-19 Vaccines (Dec. 2020)

Statement from the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (March 2021)

Saint Patrick Cathedral, Harrisburg – Sunday 9:30 a.m. Mass and weekday noon Masses are live streamed to the Diocesan YouTube channel

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Lancaster – The following is live streamed to the Parish Facebook page: Sunday Mass at 11 a.m.

Corpus Christi, Chambersburg – The following Masses are live streamed on the Parish Facebook page: Daily Mass Monday through Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Saturday Vigil at 5 p.m. Sunday Masses at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m. (in Spanish), and 6 p.m.

Good Shepherd Parish, Camp Hill – Sunday 9:30 a.m. Mass and 8:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page.

Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Harrisburg – Sunday at 10:15 a.m. to the Parish Facebook page.

Holy Spirit Parish, Palmyra – The following Masses are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page: 4 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. Sunday; 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Holy Trinity Parish, Columbia – The following Masses are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page: 5 p.m. Saturday; 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday; and 8 a.m. Saturday.

Immaculate Conception BVM Parish, Fairfield – Sunday Masses are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page and website.

Immaculate Conception BVM Parish, York – The following Masses are live streamed to the Parish YouTube channel: Sunday at 9:00 a.m. in English and Sunday at 12:00 p.m. in Spanish.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Abbottstown – Sunday Mass is recorded and posted to the Parish website.

Mater Dei Community – Sunday 9:30 a.m. Mass is live streamed to the Parish Facebook page.

Our Lady of Hope, Coal Township – Sunday 11 a.m. Mass is live streamed to the Parish Facebook page.

Our Lady of Good Counsel, Marysville – Masses and Eucharistic Adoration are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page at 8:30 a.m. daily Monday through Saturday. Mass on Sunday is at 10:00 a.m.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Mount Carmel – Sunday Mass is live streamed at 11:00 a.m. on YouTube.

Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish, Ephrata – The following Masses are live streamed to the Parish website: 9 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 and 11 a.m. Sunday.

Prince of Peace Parish, Steelton – Sunday 10:30 a.m. Mass is live streamed to the Parish website, Facebook page and MyParish App

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Parish, Elysburg – Daily Mass on Tuesday and Thursday at 8 a.m. is live streamed to the Parish Facebook page. Weekend Mass is streamed on a rotating basis. A weekly schedule is posted on the Parish Facebook page and website.

Sacred of Jesus Church, Lewistown – Saturday Mass at 4:00 p.m. is live streamed.

Saint Andrew Parish, Waynesboro – Fr. Malagesi’s homilies are recorded and posted to the website on a weekly basis.

Saint Anne Parish, Lancaster – Sunday Mass at 9:30 a.m. is live streamed to the Parish Facebook page.

Saint Catherine Labouré Parish, Harrisburg – Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Masses are live streamed on the Parish Facebook page. Recordings can also be viewed on the Parish website.

Saint Catherine of Siena, Quarryville – Sunday Mass at 10:30 a.m. is live streamed through the Parish website.

Saint Columba Parish, Bloomsburg – Mass is recorded and posted to the Parish YouTube page.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Mechanicsburg – The following Masses are live streamed on the Parish website and to the Facebook page: Tuesday at 8 a.m., Thursday at 8 a.m. and Saturday Vigil Mass 4 p.m.

Saint James, Lititz – The following Masses are live streamed: 5 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. Sunday; and 9 a.m. daily Mass, Monday through Saturday.

Saint Joan of Arc – Sunday 9:30 a.m. Mass and 9 a.m. weekday Masses, Monday through Saturday, are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page, YouTube channel and Parish website.

Saint John Neumann – The following Masses are live streamed to the Parish website: 4 p.m. Saturday; 9 and 11 a.m. Sunday; and 9 a.m. weekdays, Monday through Friday.

Saint John the Baptist, New Freedom – Sunday 9:00 a.m. Mass is live streamed via the Parish Facebook page.

Saint Joseph Parish, Danville – Sunday Mass is recorded and airs on SEVC Channel 8 at 1 p.m. on Thursdays. Saturday evening Mass is recorded and uploaded to the Parish YouTube channel.

Saint Joseph Parish, Hanover – Sunday Masses at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.; Saturday at 4 p.m.; Daily Masses Monday through Saturday at 9 a.m.; Spanish Masses Wednesday at at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 6:30 p.m., and Sunday at 12 p.m. are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page.

St. Joseph Parish, LancasterThe following are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page: Sunday Mass at 9 a.m. and noon in the Extraordinary Form. Weekdays, Monday through Friday at 6:30 a.m. Saturday at 8:15 a.m.

Saint Joseph Parish, Mechanicsburg – Saturday 4 p.m. Mass is live streamed on the Parish Facebook page. The Parish will also record Sunday Mass and post it for view Sunday morning. The Mass can be viewed on the Parish Facebook page, YouTube channel and MyParish App. Mass is interpreted for the deaf.

Saint Joseph Church, York – Sunday Mass at 9:00 a.m. is live streamed to the Parish Facebook page and the Parish website. The Mass is also posted to Facebook and the website directly after streaming.

Saint Katharine Drexel Parish, Mechanicsburg – The following are live streamed to the Parish YouTube Channel: Sunday Mass at 10 a.m. and Daily Mass at 9 a.m on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Harrisburg – Daily Mass Tuesday-Saturday at 8:30 a.m., Saturday Vigil at 5 p.m., and Sunday Mass at 9:30 a.m. are live streamed on the Parish website and on YouTube.

Saint Monica Parish, Sunbury – The following are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page: 10 a.m. Sunday Mass and 9 a.m. daily Mass.

Saint Paul the Apostle, Annville – Masses are live streamed on the Parish Facebook page.

Saint Patrick Parish, Carlisle – The following Masses are live streamed to the Parish website: Sunday 9 a.m. and weekdays, Monday through Saturday, at 8 a.m. Please use Internet Explorer or Chrome.

Saint Peter Catholic Church, Columbia – Sunday Mass at 10.30 a.m. is live streamed through Parish Facebook page.

Saint Philip the Apostle Church, Lancaster – Sunday Mass at 9:30 a.m. is live streamed to the Parish Facebook page.

Saint Richard Parish, Manheim – The following Masses are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page. Daily Mass Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. and Saturday evening Vigil Mass at 4 p.m.

Saint Rita Parish, Blue Ridge Summit – Sunday Masses are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page and website.

Saint Rose of Lima Church, York –  Sunday Mass at 10 a.m. is live streamed on the Parish website.

Saint Theresa of the Infant Jesus Parish, New Cumberland – Sunday Mass at 10 a.m. is live streamed to the Parish Facebook page and website.

Saint Vincent de Paul Parish, Hanover – The following are live streamed to the Parish Facebook page: Sunday 9:10 a.m. Rosary, 9:30 a.m. Mass; Friday 8 a.m. Mass, 8:30 a.m. Eucharistic Holy Hour with Morning Prayer, 9:20 a.m. Benediction.

Vietnamese Mass

Kính thưa cộng đoàn,

Theo thông báo mới nhất của Tòa Giám Mục Harrisburg, các giáo xứ sẽ KHÔNG CỬ HÀNH TUẦN THÁNH công khai, nhưng các linh mục có thể cử hành thánh lễ riêng tư và truyền hình trực tiếp cho các tín hữu tham dự. Dựa vào sự chỉ dẫn của Đức Cha Giáo Phận, Giáo Đoàn Mẹ Thiên Chúa sẽ KHÔNG cử hành Tuần Thánh công khai như mọi năm, nhưng sẽ có truyền hình trực tiếp trên facebook Gđ Mẹ Thiên Chúa, trên Youtube, hoặc quý vị có thể vào trang web của giáo phận: www.hbgdiocese.org/coronavirus để theo dõi các thánh lễ trực tuyến của các giáo xứ.

Chương trình tuần thánh sẽ được thông báo cho cộng đoàn sau.

Các thánh lễ Thứ Sáu, Thứ Bảy và Chúa Nhật hàng tuần sẽ được truyền hình trực tiếp trên trang facebook của giáo đoàn.

Xin anh chị em tiếp tục cầu nguyện xin Chúa chữa lành dịch bệnh và giữ gìn sức khỏe cho bản thân và gia đình.

Nguyện xin Thiên Chúa Toàn Năng chúc lành và ban bình an cho anh chị em.

Our Catholic school and Religious Education students have successfully participated in distance learning since mid-March when facilities were closed following the Governor’s decision and the recommendations of our state health care professionals.

To learn more about the COVID-19 guidelines for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Harrisburg, please click here.

To learn more about the COVID-19 guidelines for Religious Education and Youth Ministry, please click here.

Contacts

Media requests or inquiries should be directed to the Communications Office: communications@hbgdiocese.org