On Wearing Masks during Liturgies this Christmas Season

On Tuesday, December 14, 2021, Bishop Jaime Soto sent the following letter to the priests and deacons of the Diocese of Sacramento regarding the wearing of masks during liturgical celebrations and other indoor pastoral activities:

Dear Brothers:

As we prepare to celebrate the charity of the Father who sent his Son, Jesus, to a weary and wounded humanity, let us persevere in exercising sensible public health protocols during the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass as well as other liturgical celebrations and indoor pastoral activities. These provide safe and healthy environments while giving peace of mind to our communities. The protocols are simple, sensible acts of charity during the sacred and festive seasons of Advent and Christmas.

  • All ministers of Holy Communion should wear masks when distributing Communion to the faithful. Parishioners are to be directed to wear masks while indoors regardless of one's vaccination status.
  • Continue to provide hand-sanitizer for the Ministers of Holy Communion.
  • Refraining from physical contact during the Exchange of the Sign of Peace.
  • Musicians and choirs should continue to use prudence when exercising their ministry, practicing physical distancing and wearing masks.

The wearing of masks by the assembly is particularly important during school Masses and whenever groups of young people are present. These occasions are an extension of the school's activities. Therefore, adults who attend these liturgies have a responsibility to protect them and their families by wearing masks.

Continue to encourage all those eligible to receive vaccinations to do so. Anyone with medical concerns, should consult their doctors.

Besides the abiding concern for the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also in the flu season. These protocols help to foster a healthy and respectful environment for all, especially the most vulnerable.

Through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary may God's mercy bring an end to the pandemic, healing to all the afflicted, protection of those who care for them, eternal rest to all who have died and comfort for those who mourn.

Be assured of my prayers as I rely on yours. A blessed and merry Christmas.


+Jaime Soto
Bishop of Sacramento