Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Health Updates
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston continues to monitor the health situation in the 10 counties within the Archdiocese.
Cardinal Dinardo calls Catholics back to Mass in the New Year - Dec. 28, 2021
We have entered the season of Christmas, the time of the Church year when we focus our meditations and prayers on the great gift of the Incarnation, God taking on human flesh for our redemption. This is a season of hope, a season when we hold fast to the reality that God is faithful.
For nearly two years now, we have lived through the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic. At the outset of the pandemic, I enacted several protocols for the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in order to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 at our parish churches. Over time, I have adjusted some protocols or given discretion for local pastors to use their best judgment.
In the spring of 2020, I decreed a general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. I did so in order to instill peace of mind among all the faithful, especially those who would sincerely desire to fulfill their Mass obligations while also harboring serious concerns for contracting the coronavirus.
Just as I have made changes to other protocols, I now announce a change for the dispensation from the Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligation. Effective Jan. 2, 2022, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, this dispensation is removed for all Catholics within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The faithful should fulfill their Sunday and Holy Day obligations joyfully and conscientiously.
At the same time, I remind everyone that, from the Church’s law itself, the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation is not morally binding for those who find it impossible to attend Mass, e.g., due to illness, advanced age, caring for a sick person, or being at high-risk for contracting COVID-19 (cf. Canon, 1248). These persons should fulfill their obligations at home through some act of prayer or meditation upon the sacred scriptures for the Mass of the day.
When there was great uncertainty about the manner of transmitting COVID-19, I suspended the use of holy water in our churches. I have recently directed pastors to resume the use of holy water beginning on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022.
May the peace that comes from the Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts now and always.
Archdiocese adapts current COVID-19 health protocols - May 19, 2021
In a May 19 letter to the faithful, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo announced new modifications to current COVID-19 protocols at parishes within the Archdiocese regarding Liturgical celebrations and parish gatherings in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cardinal DiNardo modified liturgical celebrations and non-liturgical parish gatherings within the Archdiocese to prevent community spread. “These modifications were aimed at the common good of all who live within our communities,” he said in the letter. “The local pandemic situation is greatly improved.”
Beginning May 22, social distancing is no longer required during liturgical celebrations, and parish churches and chapels may be filled to 100% of the building’s occupancy load, according to the letter. Masks and face coverings will also not be required, but they are encouraged, the letter said.
Also starting May 22, the temporary suspension of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue is removed. Holy Communion may be received on the tongue, or in the hand, at the communicant’s discretion. However, the temporary suspension of receiving Holy Communion under the appearance of wine from a common chalice remains in effect until further notice.
Cardinal DiNardo continues to encourage unity in prayer for the faithful of the Archdiocese with this Prayer in the Time of the Coronavirus.
Vaccine concerns - Dec. 8, 2020
In two statements, the first on Dec. 8, 2020, and the second on March 2, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo addressed the moral permissibility of several COVID-19 vaccines.
In his March 2 statement, Cardinal DiNardo discussed the newer Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said: "The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for COVID-19 do not involve abortion-derived cell lines in the manufacturing process, and are morally permissible since the connection to abortion is remote. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is morally compromised because an abortion-derived cell line was used in its development, testing, and production. However, according to Catholic moral teaching, it is permissible to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when it is the only vaccine available in a given place. Where there is an option, Catholics should choose the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The decision to receive a vaccination for COVID-19 is one of personal conscience."
To read his statement about Pfizer, Moderna and other vaccines, click here.
Harris County Health Information
The Archdiocese shares the following Harris County Publish Health information links.
Influenza & Coronavirus information links
Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern, according to the CDC. The faithful can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses with these simple actions.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Why? Read the science behind the recommendations.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Source: Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov)
- Center for Disease Control
- CDC Resources for Community- and Faith-Based Leaders
- Checklist for Community and Faith Leaders
- Frequently Asked Questions (CDC)