Coronavirus Resources and Information

Capacity Limits

Updated February 5, 2021

Governor Lamont, by Executive Order 10 issued yesterday, 4 February 2021, has relaxed the limits on religious gatherings as follows:

Executive Order No. 7TT, Section 2, as most recently amended by Executive Order No. 9K, Section 2, is further amended to provide that religious, spiritual, or worship gatherings, if held indoors, are limited to no more than 50 percent of the venue’s capacity, and such services, if held outdoors, are limited to the number of people that can be accommodated safely by the venue or location, provided that all persons present at any such indoor or outdoor gathering wear masks, unless speaking from designated safe locations, and that a distance of 6 feet is maintained between all persons or groups not from the same household.

Previously, the limit was 50% capacity or 100 people, whichever was lower. The Governor has now removed the upper limit of 100 people. However, as noted, social distancing of 6 feet between individuals and households is still required. Therefore, for some of the larger churches in the Diocese, this will allow for a modest increase, but the capacity for many parishes will still be considerably limited due to the continued social distancing requirement.

Distribution of Ashes

Updated January 23, 2021

Pandemic safety protocols bring changes to the distribution of ashes. The changes are being implemented during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to ensure the safety of both the clergy and the faithful.

By decree of the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (Prot. N. 17/21) dated 12 January 2021, after blessing the ashes in the usual manner, the Priest pronounces either formula as it appears in the Roman Missal ONCE, applying it to all in general, cleanses his hands, puts on a facemask and SPRINKLES the ashes on top of the head of each person who approaches without saying anything.

These changes minimize the necessity of physical contact between minister and recipient and remove the need for the minister to speak while in close proximity to the recipient.

The distribution of ashes via sprinkling is a common practice in some countries but is not well known in the United States. . Typically, in the United States, ashes are imposed on individuals in the form of a cross made directly on the forehead. The USCCB Committee on Divine Worship, therefore, encourages the clergy to provide some explanation to the faithful to avoid unnecessary confusion.

Rite of Election

Due to Coronavirus restrictions, The Rite of Election normally held at the Cathedral of St. Patrick has been CANCELLED. Pastors are encouraged to celebrate the various rites associated with the RCIA in their individual parishes to the extent they are able.


Distribution of Holy Communion During Mass

Updated August 6, 2020

Effective immediately, Holy Communion may be distributed to the faithful who wish to receive at the usual time during the Mass, i.e., immediately following the Celebrant.

The faithful are reminded:

  • To exercise reverential caution when lowering their face masks and receiving Holy Communion, particularly those who receive in the hand. We have received numerous complaints and reports from priests that the Eucharist is being dropped on the floor as people try to receive. It may be helpful  to lower your face mask before the Eucharist is placed in your hands.
  • To be mindful of others and maintain appropriate social distance when leaving the church following the conclusion of Mass. This is particularly important in places that are restricted in the doors used in exiting.


Sunday Obligation Remains Dispensed

The obligation to attend Sunday Mass will remain dispensed for all the faithful in the Diocese of Norwich until further notice. 

  • Because space is limited, parishioners who are able to attend a Weekday Mass are encouraged, out of charity for their neighbor, to consider doing so in lieu of a Sunday Mass.
  • Parishes are being encouraged to continue with live-streaming liturgies for those faithful who cannot or may not feel comfortable attending in person.
  • The elderly, those in vulnerable populations or with underlying health conditions, and those experiencing any symptoms of illness are asked to follow the most up to date health regulations and guidelines and remain home.


Please consult your local parish websites, bulletins, and social media or call your parish office for the most up-to-date information.

For details on how to make an Act of Spiritual Communion Click Here
For a list of Broadcast and Online Masses Click Here

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Updates will be posted here as they become available.


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    Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
    201 Broadway
    Norwich, CT 06360-4328
    Phone: 860-887-9294