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Archives - Coronavirus Response Updates



Memorandum: Updated COVID-19 Protocols for Church Activities v.2



Memorandum: Updated Liturgical Directives for the New Liturgical Year During the Time of Pandemic



August 2021 Covid-19 Update - Covid-19 Task Force, Diocese of Honolulu



Memorandum: COVID-19 Protocols for Faith Formation Programs (SY 2021-2022)


JULY 16, 2021 UPDATE:

Update to Diocesan Guidelines for COVID-19 - Diocesan COVID-19 Response Team



Effective Easter Sunday, April 4 (or as of the Easter Vigil, April 3), I am ending the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, which has been in effect since mid-March, 2020. However, anyone who is sick, may have been exposed to anyone with COVID-19, or who has a health condition that would endanger themselves or others by being present in church, continues to be dispensed. 

In order to better accommodate larger numbers of people, especially on Easter Sunday, pastors are to determine whether extra seats can be added on lanais, additional Masses can be added to the schedule, or live-streaming in the parish hall can be done and Holy Communion taken to those who participate by this means.

If anticipated numbers simply cannot be safely accommodated in a particular parish, a pastor can dispense from the Sunday Mass obligation, either for individual parishioners or certain groups of parishioners, and for a specified period of time not to exceed two months without consultation with the Bishop of Honolulu. - Bishop Larry Silva
(Read More)



Effective tomorrow, Thursday, February 25, 2021 the City and County of Honolulu (Oahu Island) will move to Tier 3.  All other counties (islands) need to continue observing the rules promulgated by their respective Mayor’s offices.  An official declaration from the Mayor of Honolulu office is not yet published, so we don’t have too many details regarding how it will affect our spiritual services and current practices.  However, the following is already known:

  1. Spiritual Services (i.e., Sunday and daily Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, prayer groups, Stations of the Cross, etc.): Allowed at full capacity as long as we continue to maintain 6-foot distancing (not much change here from our current Tier 2 situation).
  2. Social gatherings/meetings at church grounds: Allowed now for up to 10 people maintaining 6-foot social distancing.
  3. Funeral Homes/Cemeteries: Allowed to have up to 25 people at their services (i.e. Vigil for the Deceased, Wakes, Funeral Liturgy outside Mass and burials).
  4. Funeral Mass at Church continues with an URN only - at full capacity - as long as we maintain proper social 6-foot distancing (no change in this area).  
  5. Continue the MANDATORY use of mask/face shield by everyone at all times.
  6. Continue the use of hand sanitizing and washing hands as often as possible.
  7. Use of conference/breakrooms: Allowed – spaced 6-feet apart.
  8. No change on current music/singing practices.
  9. Religious Education continues as currently directed.  Please check with the Office of Religious Education (Jayne Mondoy) and the Office of the YYAM (Lisa Gomes) for more information.

- Deacon Modesto Cordero, Director, Office of Worship



"As we go through the pandemic, we are enjoying the lifting of some restrictions, even as we still need to observe others for the safety and health of our community. I had extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation through February 16, 2021. I wanted to reinstate the obligation beginning with Lent, but since we still need to maintain social distancing in our churches, I am hereby extending the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day Mass through noon on Holy Thursday, April 1, 2021, which marks the end of Lent. However, this time I am strongly urging that all who take the dispensation engage in some other form of prayer or worship as suggested below. While none of these can be the equivalent of attending Sunday Mass, they will serve to keep us connected to worship, especially during the penitential season of Lent."  - Bishop Larry Silva
(Read More)



Diocese of Honolulu 2021 Lenten Regulations During the COVID19 pandemic



- Letter from Bishop Larry Silva regarding COVID-19 vaccines

- Memo: "COVID-19 Vaccinations for clergy, lay employees and volunteers" - Dara Perreira, Director of Human Resources, Diocese of Honolulu



Moral Considerations Regarding the New COVID-19 Vaccines - United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)



Liturgical Directives for the Christmas Season During the Time of Pandemic - Deacon Modesto Cordero, Director, Office of Worship



"In light of the ongoing pandemic, I am extending the dispensation through Tuesday, February 16, 2021, the day before Ash Wednesday.

"While I am extending this dispensation for the sake of those who are at higher risk if they should be infected with the COVID-19 virus, I would like to urge all our parishioners who can safely do so to return to worship at Sunday Mass."  - Bishop Larry Silva
(Read More)



"Since mid-March through October 31, 2020 I have issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I am hereby extending that dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation through December 31, 2020. As I do so, however, I urge everyone who is able to return to Mass, without undue risks to their health or the health of others, to do so."  - Bishop Larry Silva 
(Read More)



Please see the following clarifications in response to concerns from our latest “Update on COVID-19 Protocols” (dated September 23, 2020).

  1. Wearing of mask or mask/face shields: - In response to the Office of the Governor’s “13th Proclamation related to the COVID-19 Emergency” (dated September 22, 2020): “All persons must wear face coverings in compliance with county orders, rules and directives.”  Our diocesan directive stands as promulgated in our latest MEMO: “Face coverings (masks or mask/face shields) will be worn at ALL times by ALL who participate at the Mass during the liturgical celebration. For those ministers with respiratory issues the use of a face shield instead of a face mask is highly recommended.

  2. Singing at Mass:  Our latest directive reads: “Singing is now allowed by using ONE instrumentalist and ONE cantor ONLY (both need to wear a face covering at all times). The congregation should not sing at this time. The use of wind instruments is still prohibited.

    1. UPDATE: The use of other “non-wind” instruments (e.g. guitars, violins, drums, piano, organ, etc.) are allowed to be used simultaneously.

    2. A distance of 10 feet between the cantor and the congregation needs to be observed as much as possible.

    3. The use of instrumental music continues to be the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED choice during any liturgical celebration.  This will help with avoiding congregational singing.  Most of the Mass part responses could be recited.  The congregation could be invited to use the time to meditate when the cantor is singing (e.g., Entrance, Offertory, Communion and Leavetaking hymns).   

    4. UPDATE: As much as possible we should avoid the use of an entire choir in our neighbor islands (e.g. Kauai, Maui, Big Island) at this time.  If the parish is using a choir they need to follow the rules for indoor singing as directed by the state [“Any person(s) singing shall maintain physical distancing of at least ten (10) feet from any other person(s) while singing. Members of the same performing group singing may be closer than ten (10) feet together while performing, provided the group consists of less than ten (10) persons.  To the extent reasonable and practicable, a physical barrier (e.g., plexiglass) of sufficient size to mitigate the spread of  COVID-19 shall separate any person(s) singing from any other person(s), but not including members of the same performing group.]  For the island of Oahu ONE cantor only rule still stands.

  3. Funeral Mass: The 10 people rule applies for wakes, prayer services and burials at Funeral Homes and cemeteries.  Funeral Masses in church should follow the same protocols as our regular Masses.



Today, the City and County of Honolulu presented new protocols for Tier 1 implementation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MEMO HERE presents updated directives and reminders, approved by Bishop Larry Silva, that impact all Catholic churches, chapels, oratories, centers, and missions in the diocese of Honolulu, including all islands.



Oahu’s Mayor Kirk Caldwell extended the “Second Stay at Home/Work From Home” order through September 24, 2020. The General Directives and Liturgical Guidelines promulgated in the August 26 MEMO from Bishop Larry Silva will continue in effect until then for the island of Oahu (ONLY).



"As you know, Mayor Kirk Caldwell of the City and County of Honolulu, is concerned – as we all are – about the spike in COVID-19 cases on Oahu, and he has issued new restrictive orders that go into effect on Thursday, August 27 at 12:01 a.m. Houses of worship may still hold in-person services, and we are grateful we are still able to celebrate the Eucharist together. However, given the increased risks, it is all the more important that we follow the directives below. No one is obliged to attend Mass at this time, so if you feel strongly that we should not have in-person worship, you are encouraged to stay home and join us on live-stream."  - Bishop Larry Silva 
(Read More)



EXTENSION OF DISPENSATION FROM SUNDAY MASS OBLIGATION: Due to the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Larry Silva extends the dispensation of all the people of the Diocese of Honolulu and all visitors to the Diocese of Honolulu from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass through October 31, 2020. All who are able to attend Sunday Mass without putting themselves or others at serious risk of infection are encouraged to do so, but are not obliged to do so.


JUNE 15, 2020 UPDATE:

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Larry Silva extends the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass to all the people of the Diocese of Honolulu and all visitors to the Diocese of Honolulu through August 31, 2020. All who are able to attend Sunday Mass without putting themselves or others at serious risk of infection, are encouraged to do so, but are not obliged to do so.


JUNE 12, 2020 UPDATE:

Guidelines for Parish Ministries - Guidelines for opening parish ministries


MAY 26, 2020 UPDATE:

Please visit our "Faithful and Safe" page (https://www.catholichawaii.org/faithfulandsafe) for videos and information that the Diocese of Honolulu has prepared to help with a safe and smooth reopening of our churches on the weekend of Pentecost (May 30/31).


MAY 22, 2020 UPDATE:

"While each parish will have somewhat different ways of implementing the Guidelines presented below, we ask your patience and cooperation. Yes, these are bothersome requirements, but they are necessary for the continuing health and safety of all during this global pandemic."  - Bishop Larry Silva 

1. Catholic churches, missions, chapels and oratories in Hawaii will reopen for public worship the weekend of May 30/31, Pentecost Sunday. During this coming week, parishes and hospitality ministers will be prepared to assist people in following these Guidelines.  

2. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is extended through June 30, 2020. This will allow those who are not comfortable attending Mass at this time to stay away with a clear conscience. Masses will continue to be live-streamed, at least from some locations. Log-in information can be found at www.catholichawaii.org. Before June 30, we will evaluate whether or not to extend the dispensation longer.

3. As an act of charity, anyone who is sick, who is particularly vulnerable to infection, or is in a high-risk group should not attend Mass at this time. (Read More)


MAY 15, 2020 UPDATE:

“We have been working with government officials to see that we can reopen our churches as soon as possible, with social distancing, controlled numbers of attendees, masks, and sanitizing protocols. While I know Mayor Caldwell is trying to be diligent about the health of our community, and am happy to see restrictions for gatherings for worship are going to be eased, the 'in vehicle' services, especially with the prohibition of distributing anything, simply is not what is needed for Catholic worship. At the heart of our service, the Eucharist, is receiving Holy Communion, and people have been longing for this communion with the Lord. Having people 'attend' a service from their vehicles when they are prohibited from receiving Communion is of little value to us. People would be much more comfortable viewing a live-stream from home if they could not receive Communion. We are working toward responsibly getting people back into church, so that they can receive Communion during the celebration of the Eucharist. I hope that, just as restaurants are soon to be open with proper protocols, we will be able to open our churches VERY SOON to celebrate in a way that respects our own religious practices.”

 - Bishop Larry Silva’s response to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s “CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU EMERGENCY ORDER NO. 2020-11 (COVID-19 [Novel Coronavirus])” issued on May 13,2020


MAY 1, 2020 UPDATE:

"As you know, Governor Ige has extended the order of stay-at-home lockdown until May 31 to continue the mitigation of the effects of the virus and stop its spread. After consultation with my staff and the Presbyteral Council, I am extending the directives promulgated in my last memorandum dated March 27, 2020. The extension of the Directives will go into effect immediately and until May 31, 2020. Therefore, I am dispensing all Catholics in the Diocese of Honolulu from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass through May 31, 2020."  - Bishop Larry Silva (Read More)


MARCH 27, 2020 UPDATE:

"Parish churches, chapels, oratories, centers, and missions are to be closed to the public through April 30, 2020, or until further notice...All liturgical and sacramental celebrations from now through April 30 are canceled, including those during Holy Week, the Paschal Triduum, and Easter Sunday.  The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays is dispensed through April 30, 2020." - Bishop Larry Silva (Read More)

NOTE: Bishop Silva wishes to clarify that his memo dated March 27, 2020 ordering the closing of all churches, does not apply to food pantries or food distribution activities, since these are essential services provided to those in need. Governor Ige’s stay-at-home order allows the exemption for those going to buy food, so it should also apply to those who are receiving necessary food from food pantries. HOWEVER, all workers at the food pantries must have procedures that still allow proper social distancing and the safety of workers and clients. Each location should have procedures to ensure these safeguards are in place.