Covid-19 Protective Measures As Of 3/18/20

March 18, 2020

Roman Catholic Diocese Of Fresno
Covid-19 Protective Measures
Update As Of March 18, 2020
Approved by: Most Reverend Joseph V. Brennan, D.D.

1. Catholic Schools

The closure of all Catholic schools, including all preschools, has been extended for an indeterminate amount of time. Distance learning will continue Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. All fundraisers are also canceled until further notice.

If you have any questions regarding this closure and suspension of activities please call the Office of Catholic Education at (559) 488-7420.

See Addendum A: Frequently Asked Questions– School Closure – Distant Learning
2. Parish Life

The closure of ALL Churches, Missions and Stations; including all grounds and facilities such as chapels, halls, meeting rooms and classrooms, has been extended for an indeterminate amount of time. The Diocese of Fresno intends to notify the faithful and general public at least 7 – 10 days in advance of the date selected for the celebration of the Mass to be restored, along with other parish activities.

Information, resources, links to online Masses through our partnership with The CatholicTV Network and local diocesan productions may be found on our website at: www.dioceseoffresno.org. Also, the diocesan television station, KNXT, will remain on the air during this health crisis at least through May 2020.

3. Funerals

Funeral Vigil and Mass services should be postponed. A graveside service with the option of a Memorial Mass at a later date is strongly recommended and attended only by the immediate family. If a Funeral Vigil and Mass does take place, the same restriction regarding attendees applies. Immediate family includes: spouse, children, parents, grandparents and siblings of the deceased only.

Various counties or cemetery districts within the Diocese of Fresno may implement restrictions that will require parishes to adhere to even more restrictive guidelines/orders. Clergy will need to be as pastorally present as possible to the grieving families so that they do not feel abandoned by their Church.

4. Care of the Sick

We continue to pray for and care for the sick and the homebound in our midst to the best of our ability at these difficult times. Extraordinary Ministers to the sick should take every precaution if they choose to attend to a sick parishioner. Those same ministers should NOT do so if they belong to one of the at-risk categories of people either by virtue of their age or their own underlying health condition.

Priests should consider only visiting sick parishioners who are in dire need, that is, those who are seriously ill or in danger of death who have requested the Anointing of the Sick and perhaps in need of Viaticum. Again, as in all cases, every precaution should be taken by the priest in such circumstances.

5. Baptisms

Only emergency baptisms are allowed while the protective measures are in effect.

6. Confirmations

Scheduled Confirmations will be postponed until after the protective measures are lifted. At that time, Bishop Brennan will consider various options, such as: rescheduling where possible, combining parish celebrations or delegation of pastors.

7. Weddings

Couples with scheduled weddings should be encouraged to postpone. If a wedding is celebrated, only the priest/deacon, the bride and groom, their respective parents, and two witnesses may be present.

8. Quinceañeras

Scheduled Quinceañeras are to be postponed until after the protective measures are lifted or the blessing may be conducted with only the young lady, her parents and godparents.

9. Parish Office Staffing During Closures

Parish offices will remain closed until further notice. Employees who have the capability to work remotely are required to do so. When necessary, designated employees may come onsite to receive and respond to phone calls; however, the office must remain closed to the public.

The Vicars Forane will receive from the Pastors/Administrator the names and contact information for one or two employees at each parish site who will be responsible for assisting with receiving and responding to phone calls. The designated employees should be well informed of this responsibility Parishes that do not have employees are asked to provided names and contact information for trusted volunteers for this responsibility. They will be added to the Chancery contact list for assistance in the event that assigned clergy cannot be reached.

10. Parish/School Employees

See Addendum B: Department of Human Resources Frequently Asked Questions

11. Social Services

Social Services such as Catholic Charities and parish-based programs/ministries to provide food for those in need will continue with the appropriate protective measures in place, as defined by state and federal agencies.

The reception and distribution of clothing donations and other items should be suspended until all protective measures are lifted.

12. Social and Restorative Justice Ministry

Chaplaincy is limited and volunteer ministry is suspended until further notice. Updates will be provided by the diocesan Office of Social Justice Ministry, as needed.