Diocese of Jefferson City suspends public Masses, cancels other public events

UPDATE: These protocols have been replaced by a new decree of Bishop McKnight’s. Read more here

JEFFERSON CITY – Bishop W. Shawn McKnight has announced all public Masses will be suspended in the Diocese of Jefferson City, beginning on Wednesday, March 18 and until at least April 3.

“This is in keeping with the federal directives and other public entities in our area,” Bishop McKnight explained. “We offer this decision as part of our effort to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.”

This means all Catholics are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass in person. Online opportunities are listed at, and some parishes will be able to provide online Masses. Catholics are encouraged to check with their local parish regarding online Masses.

In addition, parishes have been instructed to make the following changes, beginning March 18:

  • All public gatherings are canceled or postponed. This includes public weddings. More information on baptisms, funerals and other liturgical protocols can be found at
  • Confirmation Masses will be rescheduled to be celebrated after Easter Sunday.
  • During this time, churches will remain open as places of prayer and comfort. Priests will be available in the parishes to offer anointing of the sick and other sacraments. Catholics are encouraged to seek the sacrament of anointing of the sick before they go to the hospital, if possible.
  • Catholics are asked to be mindful of their responsibility to serve the community, in their time, talent and treasure. Catholics may register their volunteer capacity at Parishes are organizing disaster responder teams to serve those immediately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Catholics may provide their tithes to their parishes by postal mail or online, if the parish offers that option.
  • Diocesan schools, which are suspending in-school instruction from March 18 to April 3, are providing ongoing instruction either online or packet-based, on a case-by-case basis. While diocesan offices and parish offices will remain open, some employees may work remotely or need to take leave to care for themselves or their families. Some parishes may reduce office hours. Regardless, all diocesan and parish employees will continue to receive compensation.

“I am grateful to all who are working tirelessly to mitigate the effects of the pandemic,” Bishop McKnight said. “I pray the efforts we are doing, as a people of faith, will provide tangible support, encouragement and spiritual hope to our communities.”

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City includes 38 counties in northeastern and central Missouri and is led by Bishop McKnight. Approximately 82,000 Catholics live in the Diocese, worshipping and serving in 110 parishes

Helen Osman
Diocese of Jefferson City
2207 West Main | Jefferson City, MO 65110