COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Information for Parishes and Parishioners
Please note: We will be posting updates as the national and statewide situations surrounding the virus continue to evolve.
Latest Updates from the Diocese
Memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha
Effective Date: July 14, 2021
Dear Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of Gallup,
With pleasure and gratitude this letter announces a relaxation of many of the restrictions and precautions associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic for the Diocese of Gallup. We acknowledge that there are still differences in the regulations within various government and tribal jurisdictions. I advise that our churches, missions and other entities honor the health policies in effect in each place as we move forward with cautious optimism while remaining alert to the persistent disease in each location. Please join me in prayer for the consolation of those who have lost loved ones, the continued healing of those affected the virus, and the stabilization of life that has been disrupted for so many. We also continue to pray for an end to the pandemic, here and throughout the world.
Medical authorities anticipate that there will be pockets of the disease that flare up over the next 2-6 months or longer. This may require a return to prudent restrictions such as facial covers and safe distancing. The new variants of this disease will play a role in those episodes of local and regional resurgence of the coronavirus infections. We have already witnessed this disease pattern in multiple places to include Israel, Japan and Russia. The response to this disease resurgence will be managed best by rapid responses at the local community level.
The current guidelines for the Diocese of Gallup shall be as follows until further guidance is published. All usual church activities may return to the manner exercised prior to the Pandemic with the following limitations and advice.
- Follow the guidance of local health authorities regarding restrictions for each community.
- Encourage the faithful to return to celebrate Mass in person. However, the dispensation for attendance at Sunday Mass continues for those who do not yet feel safe to return to public gatherings.
- Foods service at events may resume. However, it is preferred that food is dispensed by servers rather than buffet self-service. Restoration of activity remains at the discretion of the pastors/administrators/supervisors for each location. It is their obligation to be informed about the disease prevalence in their community and follow the guidance of local health and tribal authorities.
- The faithful should be informed of these changes by announcement, publications, and posted signs.
- Disseminated information should include the most recent safety advice:
- Vaccinated persons are free to assemble without masks or distancing.
- Unvaccinated persons are recommended to wear masks and maintain safe distance from others
- Reminder not to come to Mass or work if one is ill.
- Maintain good hand hygiene after exposure to public places.
- In very crowded public locations, facial covering should be considered by all.
5) Maintain cleaning of frequently-touched surfaces in the common areas
6) Distribution of Holy Communion:
Continue current procedures to sanitize hands before and after.
- Maintain good hand hygiene after exposure to public places.
- Distributed only under the form of the host.
- Use of masks by those distributing communion at Mass for in homes) is at the discretion of the pastor/administrator (an individual may continue to use a mask even if one is not required by local policy)
7) Collections: long-handled baskets or providing a separate place for contributions are still preferred over passing baskets.
8) Sign of Peace — still offered and exchanged only between the assembly and celebrant, not shared between those assembled.
9) Visitation of the sick and Sacrament of the Sick (Viaticum)
- Vaccinated clergy — simple mask is advised or following guidance of hospital or facility staff.
- Unvaccinated clergy — follow previous guidelines for protective clothing, mask and gloves.
10) Options for increased ventilation of the worship space and meeting rooms still advised. 11) Confession —should be offered in a place with good ventilation.
12) Offices of the church and other diocesan entities:
- Masks are optional, particularly for all vaccinated staff.
- Receptionists and personnel interfacing directly with the public may desire extra protection of a mask or a barrier. (This should be required if the employee is not vaccinated or has any health issue that increases their risk for infectious disease.)
I wish to thank all the clergy and faithful for their cooperation and prayers during this extended difficult time. You may be assured of my prayers for the success of your ministry and your personal safety. In closing, let us offer up our petitions to God for his blessings and protection through the intercession of our faithful patrons, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Joseph and St. Kateri whose memorial we celebrate this week.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+James Sean Wall
Bishop of Gallup
- Health update: March 03, 2021
- From the USCCB: “Moral Considerations Regarding the New Covid-19 Vaccines”
- June 03 Ministry Update
- Guidelines for the Restoration of public masses: Click here
- May 23: Diocese to begin slowly restoring public Masses
- May 15: Continuation of Practices to Combat the Spread of the Coronavirus
- April 14: Additional restrictions from NM Governor on number of persons gathered
- April 1: Exercising Faith in a Pandemic
- March 24: Updated and Clarified Diocesan Directives
- March 22: Updates on the State of the Coronavirus in the Diocese of Gallup
- March 18: Directives for Operation of Church Offices
- March 17: Diocese to suspend public Masses until further notice; certain events cancelled or postponed
- March 16, 2020: AZ Schools to close, following the example of local governments
- March 15, 2020: Daily Update (no major changes, but includes the prayer for the day)
- March 14, 2020: Clarification on weddings, confirmation and other events in the diocese
- March 13, 2020: The Little Sisters of the Poor will temporarily suspend public visits to their home for the elderly in Gallup
- March 13, 2020: Bishop dispenses all faithful from Sunday obligation; Schools in NM will close for three weeks
- March 12, 2020 – Mandatory and Recommended Guidelines for Parishes