See how they love one another: The Church in a pandemic

Updates on the diocesan response, policies, and procedures surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Public Health Concerns
Key Contacts

Vicar General
Vicar for Clergy
Msgr. Robert Kurwicki
573.635.9127, ext. 210

Liturgical Commission Chair
Father Daniel Merz
573.897.2293

Superintendent
Dr. Erin Vader
573.635.9127, ext. 247

Communication Director
Helen Osman
512.785.3006

Director of Parish and Charitable Services
LeAnn Korsmeyer
573.635.9127, ext. 222

Executive Director
Catholic Charities of Northeast and Central Missouri

Dan Lester
573.635.7719


Alphonse J. Schwartze
Memorial Catholic Center
2207 West Main St | PO Box 104900
Jefferson City, MO 65110-4900

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight removes general dispensation from obligation to attend Mass on June 1, 2021, urges Catholics to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Updated August 11, 2021


Bishop W. Shawn McKnight has issued a statement in English and in Spanish, encouraging Catholics who can do so, to be vaccinated.

"I write again, this time with urgency, to encourage each person who can get vaccinated to do so," Bishop McKnight said. "Doing your part and accepting your responsibility is the quickest way to stop the suffering and return to our usual activities.

"The moral aspects of the vaccine have been thoroughly examined by the Catholic Church. I want to state clearly the outcome of the Church’s doctrinal and pastoral reflection on this matter: It is morally permissible and morally responsible to receive the COVID-19 vaccines currently available."


Bishop W. Shawn McKnight has issued a decree lifting the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass in person, effective June 1.

Read the decree in English | Spanish

As more people become vaccinated, all Catholics are invited to join us to worship together, in person, and to receive the Body of Christ in Holy Communion, which nourishes our souls and heals us of our sins. That’s why we are obliged to participate in the Sunday liturgy each week.

Of course, if you are ill, are traveling, or otherwise dispensed from our obligation to participate in the Mass, please continue to join us online. Many of our parishes are providing livestreaming of Masses. Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you in person at Mass!

People who are infected with COVID-19 are not permitted to enter church properties, in accordance with national, state and local health directives. All are asked to check their temperature at home before going to church.


"Miren como se aman”
La Iglesia en una pandemia Preguntas y respuestas frecuentes

Más información, incluyendo los decretos e instrucciones oficiales, está disponible en https://diojeffcity.org/public-health/#noticias-de-salud-pública.

Update 5/7/2021 Bishop McKnight lifts general dispensation from Sunday Mass obligation, effective June 1,2021

The moral responsibility to be vaccinated

August 11, 2021

By Bishop W. Shawn McKnight Our world has faced a health crisis for more than a year now, unprecedented in modern times. More than 4.3 million people have died from…

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Decree lifting general dispensation

May 7, 2021

Lifting the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on days of precept, and abrogating requirements, restrictions, and special allowances of previous DECREES for the COVID-19 pandemic Whereas the…

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Decree emending previous decrees

March 12, 2021

On Pastoral Activities in the Diocese of Jefferson City Whereas guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Government advises: 1) the more frequently a surface…

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Lent, Holy Week and the Easter Triduum 2021

March 5, 2021

Decree by Bishop W. Shawn McKnight Whereas the common good demands that the public health requirements and recommendations of the state are to be observed whenever possible; and Whereas the…

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Vaccines should be received, for the common good

March 4, 2021

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight has issued the following statement: Recent statements from some bishops of the Catholic Church and subsequent news stories on these statements have caused public confusion regarding…

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Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for Protection from the Coronavirus

November 24, 2020

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, we entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.At the foot of the Cross, you participated in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith.Patroness of the Diocese…

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Decree extended after 27 November

November 13, 2020

Whereas the case numbers of COVID-19 infections remain at their highest levels for many counties of Mid-Missouri; and Whereas the common good demands that the public health requirements and recommendations…

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Online Giving Guide For Parishes

Online Giving Guide for Parishes Using Blackbaud’s Merchant Services Application

October 14, 2020

Our communications team has put together this Online Giving Guide for Parishes to help you communicate the process and usefulness of using these services in your parish. Please consider using this guide to help your parishioners understand how online giving works, the security measures that protect their information, and the importance of continuing their stewardship goals in-person or digitally.

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Diocese-of-Jefferson-City-Livestreaming-Guide

Downloadable livestreaming equipment guide for parishes

September 3, 2020

To assist parishes in their efforts to livestream liturgies, this download provides details on options and equipment to improve livestream broadcasts for parishioners.

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Decree on pastoral activities during the COVID-19 pandemic and after 11 September 2020

August 20, 2020

Whereas the Department of Health and Senior Services of the State of Missouri and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States federal government continue to recommend…

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Protocols for positive COVID-19 test results

July 19, 2020

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/school property. This includes students or anyone…

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Singing in a pandemic

July 19, 2020

There is legitimate concern on the part of many of the faithful throughout the diocese regarding singing in church during Mass, especially given the recent rise in the number of…

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Protocol for response to positive test of COVID-19

July 15, 2020
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Decree on pastoral activities following the governor’s declaration lifting statewide restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic

June 15, 2020

Whereas Governor Mike Parson has lifted the statewide health order beginning 16 June 2020, leaving the determination of public health requirements to local governments; and Whereas the Department of Health…

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Instructions to fulfill decrees for pastoral activities during COVID-19 pandemic

April 28, 2020

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight has provided a decree with updated instructions for parishes effective Tuesday, June 16, after Gov. Mike Parson lifted statewide regulations on June 15, leaving the determination of public…

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Livestreaming liturgies: logistics, permissions, “spiritual communion” prayer

April 26, 2020

If you have access to the Internet, electricity and a smartphone, it’s possible to provide your parish’s Masses and other liturgies to those who can not come to the church…

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Últimas Noticias

General Health Directives

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidelines based on the latest research and scientific discoveries regarding COVID-19.

How to minimize the spread of virus in our gathering spaces

  • Offering hand sanitizer stations at church and school entrances.
  • Practicing good hand washing with soap and water as frequently as possible and teaching children this practice.
  • Teaching children to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues, or to cough or sneeze into their inner elbow.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces in public areas, such as our churches, classrooms and meeting spaces.
  • Liturgical ministers, especially extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, should maintain clean/sanitized hands.
    • Wash hands before Mass or use a personal bottle of hand sanitizer while in the pew before serving, ensuring the sanitizer is entirely dry before serving.
    • Wash liturgical vessels with mild detergent and hot water after each liturgy, which will help to protect the finish by removing oil from hands, and work to remove pathogens that may be on the vessel from its use in the liturgy.

How individuals can protect themselves and others

People who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home until they are free of fever (fever is 100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).

Those who have weak or compromised immune systems (i.e., the elderly, the infirmed, infants and young children) should avoid public gatherings. These individuals could include the following:

  • People age 65 and over
  • Individuals with organ and blood cancers
  • Individuals undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer
  • Individuals taking medications that treat autoimmune diseases, i.e., corticosteroids, cyclosporine, methotrexate, azathioprine and biological therapies such as rituximab and etanercept, to name a few
  • Individuals with infections such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, measles, herpes, chickenpox
  • Individuals with chronic diseases like diabetes type 1 or type 2, kidney failure, liver cirrhosis, and liver failure
  • Individuals suffering from malnutrition
  • Individuals with autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Individuals with extensive burns
  • Individuals with exposure to environmental toxins like radiation
  • Individuals having no spleen
  • Individuals who are pregnant

Additional resources for parishes and parishioners