Bishop’s Lenten message 2022


March 7, 2022

Over the last several weeks, Massachusetts, like most of the rest of the country, has witnessed

a drop in COVID-19 case counts and related hospitalizations. The Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention (CDC) currently classifies as “low” the community level of COVID-19 in each of

the counties that comprise the territory of the Diocese of Fall River.

Given these positive trends, the Diocese of Fall River is updating COVID-19 guidelines:

  • The wearing of a mask by parishioners at Mass is optional and left to individual

discretion. Non-vaccinated, immuno-compromised persons are strongly encouraged to

continue to wear a mask. The Diocese echoes the CDC recommendation for this region:

“Wear a mask based on your personal preference, informed by your personal level of


  • Priests, deacons, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are no longer

required to wear masks during the distribution of Holy Communion but may continue to

do so at the decision of the pastor. Pastors should be sensitive to the needs of

parishioners, deacons and other ministers and keep in mind that some recipients of Holy

Communion may feel more comfortable if ministers wear a mask during distribution.

  • Hand sanitizer should be available and should be used by all ministers of Holy

Communion before and after the distribution of Holy Communion

  • Any priest or deacon who exhibits any possible symptom of COVID-19 must be tested. If

the result is positive, he may not celebrate or participate in Mass or any public liturgy

until completing the CDC-recommended five full-day isolation period regardless of

vaccination status. At the conclusion of the isolation period, he should continue to wear

a mask around others and in public for an additional five days per the CDC.

  • Parishes should continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 in their locality and always

comply with any local regulations.