What You Need to Know

There is a lot of information floating around regarding the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States. Rather than create yet another source, we have decided to launch this page to lead you to the websites and documents you may be looking for. Below you will find some of the communications that have gone out to the employees and priests of the diocese, as well as links to those national and local resources which will provide you with the most detailed and recent information. Check back weekly for new items as more unfolds about the coronavirus.

Updated Directives for Parishes – October 9, 2020

Directives for Re-Opening Churches for Public Worship

Communications

Letter to Catholic School Families – Closure through end of 2019-2020 school year (Espanol)
Second Holy Week Message from Bishop Kopacz
Holy Week Message and Directives from Bishop Kopacz
Ring Bells in solidarity with healthcare professionals
Statement announcing suspension of Mass and Parish Ministries through April 30   (Espanol)
Letter to Catholic School Families – Closure through April 17 – March 20, 2020   (Espanol)
Letter to Catholic Schools and Early Learning Centers – School Closure Week 2 – March 17, 2020    (Espanol)
Statement from Bishop Kopacz on COVID-19 – Suspension of Mass and Parish Ministries Effective Immediately – March 17, 2020     (Espanol)
Coronavirus Update for Catholic Schools and Early Learning Centers – March 14, 2020
Dispensation from Sunday Mass Obligation – March 14, 2020     (Espanol)
Diocesan Response to Prevention of Coronavirus – March 13, 2020  
Coronavirus Update to Catholic Schools – March 13, 2020
Coronavirus Update to Early Learning Centers – March 13, 2020   (Espanol)
Letter of Diocesan Directives from Bishop Kopacz – March 9, 2020    (Espanol)
Notice: suspension of the distribution of the Precious Blood during the Eucharist – February 29, 2020

Clarification

We have received several calls about leaving churches open for prayer. On a parish by parish basis, some may be offering limited gathering for prayer for 10 or less. Please note, one major way to slow down the spread of this virus is to take seriously social distancing and disinfecting areas where people have been. Everyone needs to cooperate in order to slow the spread. This virus is extremely dangerous. An individual may be asymptomatic in the church and go home and develop symptoms. These directives are meant to protect our faithful and our clergy. Prayers may be offered from anywhere.

Directives to Parishes, Schools, Other Institutions (updated May 30, 2020)

  • Bishop Kopacz continues to dispense all the faithful from the Sunday Obligation to participate in Mass until further notice.
  • Public Masses in many parishes in the Diocese of Jackson are opened – please see individual parishes for details on attendance and follow diocesan directives when attending. 
  • At this time, Masses may not be celebrated in private homes or
    properties of parishioners.
  • The sacraments and rites currently in place are continued with proper social distancing.
  • First Holy Communion and Confirmation celebrations may begin August 1, 2020. Bishop Kopacz has delegated individual pastors to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation for the remainder of 2020. If a candidate will be moving away prior to August 1, pastors may confer the sacrament individually for this family in the church.
  • Social distancing will be kept in accord with the state and local health
    recommendations and local ordinances.
  • Weddings should consist of gatherings of 10 or less and by using Rite of Marriage Outside of Mass.
  • Penitential Prayer Services can be live-streamed, and all can ask and receive God’s mercy from our hearths and homes, the domestic church.
  • Choir and Ensemble singing and practices are suspended until further notice.
  • Parish staff should limit in office visits and encourage business to occur via telephone or email.
  • These directives above and below may not encompass every minute detail. The overriding maxim is: use common sense. Please see full list of directives in the document posted above the video on this page.

The Office of Catholic Education has shared the following information with principals and teachers: (Updated June 24, 2020)

  • Catholic Schools are closed through end of 2019-2020 school term. Schools are planning on opening for the 2020-2021 school year in August.
  • Early Learning Centers will open on Monday, June 29.

Ongoing updates will be made as the situation changes. We ask for everyone’s cooperation and prayers for all as we navigate these uncertain times.

Helpful Links

Center for Disease Control
Mississippi Department of Health
Mississippi Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline: 877-978-6453 (open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday)
Workspace and Household Cleaning
White House Coronavirus Guidance – March 16, 2020
COVID-19: The Crucial Role of Nurses in Public Health Emergencies