Please see the important message below from Bishop McKnight:
Recent statements from some bishops of the Catholic Church and subsequent news stories on these statements have caused public confusion regarding the moral implications of Catholics using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. I affirm what the Holy See, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Missouri province of Catholic bishops and my own moral analysis have concluded, primarily based on our obligation to serve the common good:
In the current situation of a pandemic, Catholics may in good conscience utilize any of the vaccines currently available, even those derived in an unethical manner, to protect themselves, as well as to avoid the serious risk to vulnerable persons and to society resulting from remaining unvaccinated. If a person concludes he or she cannot be vaccinated, whether for health reasons or if their own moral analysis is different from the Church, they are morally obliged they do everything they can to prevent transmission of the coronavirus and avoid any risk to the health of those who cannot be vaccinated.
As Pope Francis reminds us, in receiving these vaccines we are truly showing love for our neighbor and for God, which is the core teaching of our faith.
BENTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT—MASS IMMUNIZATION CLINICS
If you are 65 or over or have a high risk medical condition (18-64) and you would like the Covid vaccine, call the Benton County Health Department for an appointment. They are scheduling clinics for vaccinations. 660.438.2876
Benton County Health Department—Covid Clinic—Tuesday, March 30th
The Benton County Health Department is having a Covid Clinic, Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at the Shrine Club in Warsaw. Immunizations will be given by appointment. Please call the Health Department at 660-438-2877 for an appointment for the Moderna vaccine.
NOTE: To see Bishop McKnight's full New Decree for Pastoral Activities in View of COVID-19 dated November 11, 2020 click on the link at the bottom of this page.
Whereas the case numbers of COVID-19 infections remain at their highest levels for may counties of Mid-Missouri; and
Whereas the common good demands that the public health requirements and recommendations of the state are to be observed whenever possible; and
Whereas the Presbyteral Council has provided their advice with regard to the ongoing reality of the pandemic; and
Whereas the current DECREE governing pastoral activities during the pandemic expires on the 27th day of November 2020;
I therefore declare, as the Diocesan Bishop, the following:
1. All dispensations, obligations and guidance of the previous DECREE of 21 August 2020, originally effective until 27 November 2020, shall now be extended until further notice.
2. All the faithful of the Diocese of Jefferson City, and those who are present in the territory of the Diocese, are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass in person on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation until further notice, provided that for days of precept they do one of the following:
a. Prayerfully participate in the Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation Mass live streamed from their parish church or chapel, the Cathedral, the Vatican, or of any Mass of the day celebrated in communion with the Roman Catholic Church.
b. Prayerfully read and meditate on the readings of the Mass for the Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation, and recite the rosary or Divine Mercy chaplet.
c. The faithful still have the obligation to keep the Lord's Day holy and "to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2185)
3. Parishes are highly encouraged to live stream Masses for Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation to maintain a pastoral connection with their parishioners during and after the pandemic.
4. Celebrations of penance services, as well as other seasonal services that entail extra gatherings of the faithful apart from Mass, are to be avoided. Instead, parish priests are asked to make themselves more available, even on a daily basis during the last week of Advent, to hear the confessions of the faithful.
5. Whenever possible, the faithful should present themselves to their parish priest for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick before they depart for the hospital. Because of pandemic protocols at hospitals throughout the diocese, priests may not have access to patients at the hospital.
6. The Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord [Christmas] on 24December 2020 may be celebrated as early as 3:00 pm to accommodate an ample Mass schedule for social distancing requirements. Whenever possible, every active priest of the diocese shall celebrate a Vigil Mass of Christmas at 3:00 pm with the faithful so as to minimize large numbers congregating at the most popular Mass of the season. The allowance for a 3:00 pm Vigil Mass of Christmas is only for this year and not to be presumed for the future. This decree is effective from 28 November 2020 and until further notice, anything to the contrary not withstanding.
Given at the Chancery of the Diocese of Jefferson City on this 11th day of November 2020.
Note by Fr. Alex Ekka:- The rest of the guidelines regarding face covering and social distancing are as before. Read the full text in the PDF below.– All are obliged to wear mask or other face covering and gloves upon entering the church and continue wearing them except when seated and while consuming the Holy Communion.– All should strictly maintain the social distance of minimum 6-foot while sitting in the pews. A family can sit together but maintain the distance of 6-foot with other family or individuals. – Rules of social distancing are to be strictly observed while entering and going out of the church as well as while receiving Holy Communion.– Ushers will not go around for offertory collection. Faithful are requested to drop their contributions in baskets while entering the church. Fr. Alex Ekka
Protocols for COVID-19 concerns - Anyone visiting a current COVID-19 hot spot or traveling internationally will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days before being allowed back on parish property. This includes anyone who is on parish property on a regular basis. Please use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) map of hot spots to help determine if your travel takes you to a current hot spot. States at the highest levels of current cases qualify as a hot spot - https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/index.html#cases
Abiding by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, use of face masks upon entering the Church, during the celebration of Mass except when in place in the pew, during the Communion procession, and upon leaving the church is required. If social distancing cannot be maintained in the pew, then the wearing of face masks is obligatory even in the pew.
Prayer for a Pandemic: May we who are merely inconvenienced, remember those whose lives are at stake. May we who have no risk factors, remember those most vulnerable. May we who have the luxury of working from home, remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent. May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close, remember those who have no options. May we who settle in for a quarantine at home, remember those who have no home. During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen.