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Liturgical Directives to be Issued


TO:Pastors, Administrators and Parochial VicarsAll Priests Serving the ArchdiocesePrincipals and Administration
FROM:Reverend Monsignor Thomas P. Nydegger, Ed.D.Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia
DATE: May 11, 2020
RE:Liturgical Directives to be Issued


The pandemic we are living through has been a long, difficult and challenging journey for all of us, one that is still not over.  You have been an inspiration and witness to our people in your efforts to serve them and care for them.  You are to be commended for this extraordinary accomplishment – bringing the Lord to our people even in the midst of the necessary limitations in place.  While we must continue the mitigation, in charity toward each other, we need to be ready to move forward when measures begin to be relaxed and cooperate fully with the measures that must remain.

Attached you will find three documents regarding the re-opening of our churches. A committee, charged by the Cardinal and led by our Chancellor, Sr. Donna Ciangio, O.P., has labored over these directives intensely  I know you have been anxious to receive them but the Cardinal wanted to be sure they were exactly what is needed to re-open the churches and protect you and all the faithful of the Archdiocese at the same time.  The Cardinal has approved them and now issues them.  Again, there are three documents:

  • “What to Expect When Public Masses Resume” gives you a  brief overview of how our churches will be re-opened in three phases and five things to be mindful of during the return process.  It will be useful to you as an overview and to use with your people in helping them understand what to expect.
  • “Directives for Re-Opening Churches” is a much more elaborate and detailed set of directives for pastors/administrators and the parish leadership team.  It will spell out not only the three phased opening but also directives on Baptisms, Confirmations, First Communions, Weddings and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  Please understand that these directives must be followed without exception.
  • “Ascension of the Lord” is a letter from Cardinal Tobin notifying you and the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Newark his approval of the transfer of the observance of the Ascension of the Lord from Thursday, May 21, 2020 to Sunday, May 24, 2020.

Allow me to point out that, in the “Directives for Re-Opening Churches,” Phase One, which allows for opening of churches for personal prayer during limited and designated hours (with the indicated directives, one (1) through eleven (11)), is permitted to begin this upcoming Sunday, May 17, 2020.

Finally, a larger set of guidance and directives will be forthcoming very soon addressing other important topics including public buildings, employee facilities, communications and supplies. A larger committee has been working on these directives led by our Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Larry Boland, as well.  These directives regarding the re-opening of our churches will be included in that set of directives but they are provided here in advance given the concern for them we heard expressed in the survey that was conducted and many of you participated in, for which we are grateful.

The Lord says in Matthew 5:41, “Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.”  During this pandemic, you’ve gone the extra mile… and then some.  Thank you for all you have done and all you will do to pastor our people!

What to Expect When Public Mass Resumes
Directives for Re-Opening Churches
Ascension of the Lord