These are changes Houston-area Catholics can expect after archbishop’s letter on pandemic

Here’s what you need to know, from Holy Communion to masks

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo speaks during an interview with KPRC2's Bill Balleza in Houston on Jan. 31, 2019.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo speaks during an interview with KPRC2's Bill Balleza in Houston on Jan. 31, 2019.

HOUSTON – Houston-area Catholics can worship without social distancing and masks if they would like following a letter this week from Archbishop of Galveston-Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.

His letter, posted Wednesday on Facebook, indicates that the situation has improved and starting on Saturday these changes will be in effect:

  • Social distancing no longer needs to be maintained during liturgical celebrations
  • Parish churches and chapels may be filled to 100% of the building’s occupancy load.
  • Masks will not be required, but they are encouraged.
  • 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. The temporary suspension of receiving Holy Communion under the appearance of wine from a common chalice remains in effect until further notice.

Read the full letter from DiNardo below.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic I modified the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy and non-liturgical parish gatherings within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in order to prevent these gatherings from becoming sources of community spread for the virus. These modifications were aimed at the common good of all who live within our communities.

The local pandemic situation is greatly improved. Therefore, I have amended our pandemic protocols. Beginning with the celebration of the Vigil Mass of Pentecost on the evening of Saturday, May 22, 2021 social distancing no longer needs to be maintained during liturgical celebrations. Parish churches and chapels may be filled to 100% of the building’s occupancy load. Masks will not be required, but they are encouraged.

Also effective on the evening of May 22, 2021, 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. The temporary suspension of receiving Holy Communion under the appearance of wine from a common chalice remains in effect until further notice.

For the time being, the general dispensation from the Sunday obligation remains in effect for all Catholics within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

With assurances of my prayers, and commending this local Church to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo

Archbishop of Galveston-Houston

A Letter to the Faithful Regarding Updated Pandemic Protocols Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, At the outset of...

Posted by Archdiocese of Galveston - Houston on Wednesday, May 19, 2021

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Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.