COVID-19 Response
(732) 741-0500 ~ Fax: (732) 741-1489
94 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701

COVID-19 Response

Revision to COVID-19 Guidelines

On May 26, the Diocese of Trenton announced a set of protocol changes as the faithful are encouraged to return to in-church Masses. The revisions follow:


The Bishops of New Jersey have ended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation effective June 5-6, 2021, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. The faithful are to return to the practice of participating at weekly celebration of Mass in- church. As is always the case, the obligation does not apply to the sick, those with underlying health conditions, and those who remain fearful of COVID-19 transmission.

Effective May 28, 2021, N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the mandates requiring the wearing of masks and social distancing. Yet, recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic remains active, wearing a mask is an option for those who wish to do so. The clergy and faithful should use their best judgment to protect their own health and the health of their neighbors. Moreover, those who are not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear a mask. Limits on church capacity to pre-pandemic levels will be lifted on June 4, 2021.

In light of these developments, the protocols regulating the celebration of Mass and Sacraments in effect since June 2020 are greatly modified, if not ended. The following guidance is provided to facilitate an orderly and careful return to parish life. No one is to be refused the Sacraments due to vaccination status.


  • Pastors should devise a liturgical schedule appropriate for parish’s needs at this
  • All doors may be utilized for entrance and exit of
  • Barriers, tape, cords to maintain social distancing may be
  • Sanitizing of pews and other furnishing after each Mass may be discontinued.
  • Hand sanitizers should continue to be made
  • Restrooms may be restored to full
  • Blessed Water may be placed in
  • Missals and hymnals may be placed in pew book
  • Bulletins, worship aids, etc., may be
  • The continued use of livestreaming is encouraged for the benefit of the


  • “Parking lot Masses” and “In car reception of the Eucharist” should be
  • Pastors are encouraged to invite liturgical ministers to resume their
  • All ministers of Holy Communion should wear masks while distributing the Holy
  • Receiving Holy Communion in the hand continues to be strongly encouraged although Holy Communion may be received on the tongue as
  • The procession for Holy Communion is strongly encouraged at the usual time at
  • The usual procession of ministers to and from sanctuary may
  • Music Ministers may return to their usual
  • The collection may be taken up as in the
  • The Presentation of the Gifts by the faithful may
  • The use of separate chalices for concelebrants and deacons is encouraged for the time
  • Sharing chalices for the faithful is not permitted at this time. Holy Communion is to be distributed by the sacred host
  • The Sign of Peace may
  • Greeting people at the church door may


  • Confessionals may be used where there is proper ventilation and space. Where there is no proper ventilation and space, pastors should arrange an appropriate place for
  • Sanitizer and masks should be available and used by the priest and the penitent.


  • More than one infant may be baptized at the same
  • The blessing and the pouring of water from a pitcher is
  • Q-Tips may continue to be used for the
  • The baptismal garment may be placed upon the newly
  • Group photos may be taken.


  • Nuptial Masses may be
  • Worship aids may be
  • Greetings at the door and the Sign of Peace may be
  • Group photos may be taken.


  • Vigil services at funeral homes may now resume where previously
  • “Open casket” visitation in church before the Mass is
  • The use of the pall may resume.


  • Parish meetings and socials may resume. Refreshments may be served observing local health protocols.


Masks and social distancing requirements are lifted except as noted above on Friday, May 28, and these revisions to pandemic protocols as well as full occupancy of churches are to be implemented on Friday, June 4. The dispensation from Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligation is lifted except as noted above on Saturday, June 5.

Approved by Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M. Bishop of Trenton
May 26, 2021
Feast of St. Philip Neri









Need assistance with food, housing, drug addiction, mental health, domestic violence or immigration? Contact Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton

logo cct