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Documents from the Vatican
Sacraments of Initiation and Reconciliation/Confession as of 05/19/2020
In the Archdiocese of San Antonio, General Absolution is not approved at this time. As long as churches can remain open, priests can hear confessions in the church or by appointment, following the requisite sanitation procedures and social distancing guidelines, to include the use of masks.
Infant Baptism may take place in parishes at the discretion of the pastor so long as social distancing and sanitation procedures are followed, to include the use of masks.
First Communion for children may be celebrated at the discretion of the pastor and according to the requisite sanitation and social distancing procedures, to include the use of masks.
For all adolescent students prepared for Confirmation and for baptized, Catholic adults who have already received first Communion and have been prepared for Confirmation: According to correspondence sent to all pastors earlier this month by Archbishop Gustavo, a date is to be set by each parish for Confirmation. This date is to be between June 16, 2020 and August 31, 2020. The requisite sanitation and social distancing procedures are to be followed, to include the use of masks. When the date has been set (only one if at all possible), please inform Linda Ramirez at the Office of the Archbishop at of (1) the date and time of the celebration as well as (2) the full name – and saint’s name – of all of the confirmation candidates by June 15, 2020. This date presupposes that the pastors who will be transferring to another parish on July 1, 2020, will set the date prior to leaving the parish so that the incoming pastor has the information. Once the Archbishop’s Office has received this information, the Archbishop will issue a specific rescript giving each pastor faculties to confirm those adolescents and adults on the submitted list on the specific date the pastor has identified for his parish. If assistance is needed in planning the Confirmation mass, please contact Grace Rodriguez in the Office for Liturgy and Pastoral Care.
Please be aware that as of very recently, the Archdiocese has been informed that there are pending instructions from Rome regarding anointing at the Confirmation celebration. This information will be communicated to pastors and pastoral ministers as soon as possible.
Recommendations for Parish Activities (Outside of Mass & other Liturgies) as of 05/19/2020
The principles of social distancing remain in effect for the foreseeable future. This includes wearing masks, maintaining a six-foot radial distance from other people who are not members of one’s household, and holding meetings in spaces large enough to allow for such distancing.
If organizational or ministry meetings can occur on-line, then this practice should continue whenever possible.
Priests, other parish ministers, staff, or volunteers who meet with individuals should be careful to wear masks and maintain a six-foot distance. Confessions, spiritual direction, or pastoral counselling should be conducted in a place that allows for such distancing, yet maintaining privacy.
All in-person meetings must follow social distancing protocols. Parish staff should wear masks at work and maintain the six-foot radial distancing.
Regular parish formation such as religious education, RCIA, Scripture study, youth ministry, etc. may take place following social distancing and sanitation guidelines, to include the use of masks.
With regard to a restart of any food service parish ministry, any and all food preparers must wear masks, gloves and strictly follow all sanitation and food safety procedures. Food should be served in individual covered containers/wrappers and picked up by recipients for “take out.” This applies to all activities and fundraisers involving food, such as breakfast tacos, bake sales, plate sales, etc.
Updates will be provided as additional information becomes available.