COLORADO SPRINGS. The coronavirus pandemic has not only led to a suspension of public Masses, it has also cast uncertainty on the celebration of other sacraments, including weddings, confirmations, and funerals. Following is a list of frequently-asked questions based on the liturgical guidelines issued by Bishop Michael Sheridan on March 20:
Q: Can I invite my pastor or another priest to come to my home and celebrate Mass for my family if there will be less than 10 people?
A: No, according to the general liturgical guidelines issued by Bishop Michael Sheridan on March 20, Masses may no longer be celebrated in private residences.
Q: I have a newborn baby. Can he/she still be baptized?
A: Yes, baptisms may be celebrated provided only the immediate family is present, with no more than 10 people total, including the celebrant.
Q: There has been a death in my family. Will my pastor be able to celebrate a funeral Mass?
A: Burials may take place with graveside prayers (if permitted by the cemetery), and Memorial Masses celebrated after restrictions have been lifted. If the deceased has been cremated, the cremains may be retained by the funeral director, and a funeral Mass may be scheduled when the restrictions have been lifted. The cremains may also be inurned with a Memorial Mass celebrated after restrictions have been lifted.
Q: My fiancé and I scheduled our wedding at our parish months ago. Can it still take place under the current restrictions?
A: Weddings that have already been scheduled can take place with only the witnesses and immediate family present, if the total number of people present including the celebrant does not exceed 10.
Q: My fiancé and I recently became engaged. Can we schedule the wedding at our parish church?
A: No, weddings cannot be scheduled or rescheduled until the restrictions have been lifted. However, it is still a good idea for engaged couples to begin marriage preparation classes online. Call your parish office for information about how to begin the preparation process.
Q: My son/daughter was scheduled to receive the sacrament of confirmation this spring. Will they still be confirmed?
A: All scheduled parish confirmations are postponed to a later date, yet to be determined. However, the sacrament of confirmation may be given to anyone in danger of death.
Q: I have a family member who is extremely ill and in the hospital. Can they receive the anointing of the sick?
A: If at all possible, a sick person should receive anointing of the sick at home before going to the hospital. Your parish priest may not be able to administer the sacrament in the hospital due to current policies that limit visitors or prohibit them all together. At Catholic hospitals, the priest who is assigned as chaplain should be able to anoint those who are seriously ill and in danger of death.
Q: Can I still go to confession?
A: Yes, parishes are continuing to offer confessions at scheduled times or by appointment. People in line for confession should be six feet away from each other, and the priest and penitent should also be six feet away if possible. Visit your parish website for the latest information.