Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls

Changes in Light of the Suspension of Public Masses

Suspending public Masses and public events that are parish- and diocesan-sponsored comes with many ramifications.  The following list clarifications is offered specifically for the Diocese of Sioux Falls.  This list is subject to amendment and revision with time and as Bishop DeGrood gathers more insights from pastors and parish experiences.

Personal Prayer in Church Buildings/Chapels

  • Where it is the local custom, church buildings may remain open during the day for private prayer and devotion at the discretion of the pastor.

Televised Masses

  • The Diocese-sponsored Sunday TV Mass will continue to be prayed and broadcast via television and via online streaming.
  • Similarly, local pastors and staff may develop means by which private Masses prayed in parish churches can be broadcast to parishioners.


  • Masses of Christian Burials may be prayed with only immediate family members present.  This funerals should still honor the guideline of having only 10 persons present.  Wakes may not be prayed in Catholic facilities.
    • In the event of a death, Memorial Masses can be prayed after this temporary suspension has been lifted.

Other Sacraments

  • Baptisms are permissible outside of the context of Holy Mass and at the pastor’s discretion.  Care need be taken to limit the size of the gathering and to include additional precautions such as using holy water that is blessed especially for the one person receiving the sacrament.
  • Confirmations and First Holy Communions scheduled through April, 2020 will be rescheduled.
  • Confessions may be heard in parishes.  Pastors have been encouraged to publish times when they are available.  This provision is made with the expectation that additional precautions for avoiding the spread of the virus are in place at the parishes while at the same time the seal essential to the Sacrament is safeguarded.
  • Lenten communal penances are to be cancelled.
  • Weddings that have been scheduled may still be celebrated.  However, only the priest/deacon, bride, groom, witnesses for both, and five additional people may attend.

Holy Week Liturgies

  • The Chrism Mass will be prayed in the Cathedral of St. Joseph with only the liturgical ministers present and live-streamed.  Holy oils will be distributed to parishes in coordination with local pastors.
  • If the suspension must continue through Holy Week, liturgies of the Most Holy Triduum will be prayed in the Cathedral of St. Joseph and live-streamed.  The Diocese is exploring other broadcast medium by which the faithful can participate remotely.

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