"Nothing can separate us from the love of God!"
Beginning March 14th to March 31st Bishop Solis is suspending the public celebration of worship, including Sunday, weekday and other Holy Masses. During this time, Catholic school facilities will close and instruction to students will be provided remotely. Each individual school will contact parents and inform them of how instruction will be delivered at home for each grade.
"Praying for everyone for God’s grace of healing, strength, courage & peace!"
Our churches are still open for personal visits and private prayer. The activity and ministry of our Church in Utah continues.
+Bishop Oscar A. Solis
Diocese of Salt Lake City
For the lastest information on the Coronavirus, please visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/
The Diocese of Salt Lake City affirms the findings of the chairs of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Committees on Doctrine and Pro-Life Activities, the Catholic Health Association and other respected moral theologians that the early vaccine candidates from Pfizer and Moderna are morally acceptable. As plans are formulated for distribution, the Diocese will:
- Promote and encourage COVID-19 vaccinations in collaboration with state and local governments and other entities;
- Advocate on behalf of vulnerable populations to ensure that they have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines; and,
- Provide regular and accurate information to parishioners and the community in support of morally acceptable, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.
Life has changed this year in ways few of us could have imagined. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought loss of life and livelihood to every community, rich and poor. We mourn for those who have died and for their families, and we offer our prayers and assistance to those struggling with loss of businesses, unemployment, loneliness, anxiety and other traumas brought on by this crisis.
Fortunately, two COVID-19 vaccine candidates will likely be granted emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before the end of the year, and one or more vaccines will likely become widely available in 2021. While the vaccines are still under review, they have been extensively studied in rigorous clinical trials and early safety and effectiveness findings look promising.
We welcome this news and look forward to the distribution of safe and effective vaccines with a sense of relief while recognizing the formidable logistical challenges that lay ahead for vaccine developers, health care providers, governments and others.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated:
In view of the gravity of the current pandemic and the lack of availability of alternative vaccines, the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use, despite their remote connection to morally compromised cell lines.
Receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community. In this way, being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.
With regard to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the bishops found it to be “more morally compromised” and consequently concluded that this vaccine “should be avoided” if there are alternatives available. “It may turn out, however, that one does not really have a choice of vaccine, at least, not without a lengthy delay in immunization that may have serious consequences for one’s health and the health of others,” the bishop chairmen stated. “In such a case … it would be permissible to accept the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
At the same time, the bishops also warned that Catholics “must be on guard so that the new COVID-19 vaccines do not desensitize us or weaken our determination to oppose the evil of abortion itself and the subsequent use of fetal cells in research.”
Messages from the Diocese
Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City Cancels Public Celebrations Of Holy Week Observances
The Most Rev. Oscar A. Solis, Bishop of Salt Lake City, issued a memo March 19 declaring that all Holy Week, Triduum and Easter services in the Diocese of Salt Lake City will be celebrated without the presence of the congregation.
Bishop Solis’ decree follows that issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome, which states in part, “Wherever the civil and ecclesiastical authorities have put restrictions in place, the Sacred Triduum must be celebrated in the following way: Bishops will give indications, which have been agreed with the Episcopal Conference, so that, in the Cathedral and parish churches, though without the physical participation of the faithful, the Bishop and parish priest(s) can celebrate the liturgical mysteries of the Pascal Triduum. The faithful should be informed of the times of the celebration so that they can prayerfully unite themselves in their homes.
”Because of the coronavirus pandemic, priests in the Diocese of Salt Lake City are to limit participation in all Holy Week services, Bishop Solis said in his memo. Participants may include a possible concelebrant, deacon, two servers, an instrumentalist and cantor, or a choir of no more than three members to enhance the liturgy.
The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation will be postponed until the pandemic passes.
If pastors plan to distribute blessed palms on Palm Sunday, April 5, they most do so in accordance with the safety and sanitary directives issued by the diocese, Bishop Solis said.The Chrism Mass this year in the Diocese of Salt Lake City will be celebrated, without the congregation, on Holy Thursday. The Holy Oils blessed at the Mass will be distributed to the parishes and missions.
POC: Jean Hill, Diocese of Salt Lake City public information officer, (801) 328.2641 ext. 336
Message of the Most Reverend Oscar A. Solis
Bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Utah
To the People of God in Utah,
Greetings of God’s peace and love!
You must have by now learned about the decision I prayerfully made for the Diocese of Salt Lake City regarding the outbreak of the coronavirus. The World Health Organization has called it a pandemic. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, and Governor Gary Herbert and the local government in Utah have made us aware of this growing crisis in our state.
In view of this, I have implemented emergency measures in response, to help address this serious situation. These include temporarily suspending the public celebration of worship, including Holy Mass, other diocesan and parish events such as the Lenten retreat that involve the presence of many people, as well as classes in our Catholic schools. In this regard, I am issuing for Catholics a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday, and teachers in our Catholic schools will provide their students remote instruction rather than onsite. These measures will remain in effect until March 31, or until further notice.
This was a very difficult decision, and I made it with a heavy heart. My decision, in consultation with other diocesan leaders, is to heed the warning of the authorities in an effort to help prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease, to safeguard the health of those who are more vulnerable, and for the greater good of the community. Today it is not just a matter of containing the disease, but we must also consider the greater possibility of endangering the lives of many others. It is perhaps a superabundance of caution, but by virtue of the serious circumstances, I find it prudent to act immediately.
I know how painful it is for us to be deprived of public worship, especially of the Holy Eucharist, but this is a time when we Catholics must look beyond ourselves. I ask for your understanding and for you to broaden your perspective of the whole issue. It is more than “me” individually, but “us” as a community. We Catholics are a minority here in Utah, yet a big part of it. Our government authorities have asked the various sectors of our society for our cooperation to help to address this crisis. We must do our part.
In our little and humble way, we can contribute to helping during this time of crisis as Catholics, by temporarily depriving ourselves of the Holy Mass, the summit of our Christian life and worship, for the sake of others and the greater good of our community, especially those who are vulnerable to the disease – the elderly and the sick. And let us do it in a spirit of sacrifice and charity.
The Book of Psalms reminds us to “hope in the Lord, trust in His word, for with Him there is kindness and plenteous of redemption.” During these trying times, please continue to pray and practice our faith. We worship as a community, and the gift of the grace of faith given by the Holy Spirit grows in the community as well as in us individually. While we cannot gather together in a worship space, we can still partake of a spiritual communion by watching the celebration of the Holy Mass on television or on social media, through our diocesan website or on YouTube.
Our churches remain open for your personal visits and prayers before the Blessed Sacrament. You can also pray individually or as a family at home. In a special way, let us seek the grace and mercy of God by making use of the Holy Bible, and spiritual and inspirational books, as well as pious devotions such as the rosary, Stations of the Cross and novenas. Pray for one another, especially those who are affected by the coronavirus, as well as their caretakers and health care workers, the sick and our families suffering the effects of this crisis.
I encourage you to create an environment of dialogue with our Lord. Perhaps this is a time God has given us to sit down, to reflect, to pray and establish a deeper communion with the Lord. Perhaps this is a time also to establish closer relationships with your spouse, children and friends. Oftentimes, we get so distracted by the many other preoccupations in life that we lose sight of God and neglect the people we love around us.
My dear friends, dispel your fears and never lose hope, because God is still with us. Although we do not at this time publicly celebrate the Mass, we can still encounter Christ in our lives. Let us invoke God’s grace of strength and courage as one faith family, so we can withstand our trials and difficulties. Following the example of our forbearers in faith, let us seek together the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that our trust in God’s power and through the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, help us end this pandemic and grant us His salvation.
+The Most Rev. Oscar A. Solis
Bishop of Salt Lake City
A PRAYER FOR PROTECTION IN TIME OF PANDEMIC
O Mary, you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus' pain,
keeping your faith firm.
You know what we need, and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
and to the joy of the resurrection.
Under your protection,
we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God.
O glorious and blessed Virgin,
Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial,
but deliver us from every danger. Amen