Guidance for Collective Worship in Catholic Churches (COVID-19)

Catholic churches that are safely able to do so can now resume collective acts of worship, for example the celebration of Mass. This guidance is designed to help parish priests comply with the government's public health and social distancing requirements.

PLEASE NOTE: This guidance has been suspended from Thursday, 5 November to Wednesday, 2 December 2020.

Please click for our Four-Week Lockdown: COVID-19 Guidance.

Priests in Catholic churches that are safely able to do so celebrate Mass, whilst complying with the government’s social distancing requirements.

The government has announced that face coverings have to be worn in places of worship unless a person has an exemption from this.

As of 28 September 2020, an additional consideration is the ‘Rule of Six‘ and a change in the number of people permitted at what the government terms ‘life cycle events’ – celebrations such as weddings.

Our church-related coronavirus guidance is kept up-to-date.

Specific Guidance

Links to specific guidance can be found here:







Pastoral Care of the Sick

Adult Initiation

First Holy Communion

As these celebrations take place within the context of the Parish Mass, the conditions outlined for the Sacraments of Initiation of Adults apply. The careful application of social distancing rules should be applied for family groups attending these celebrations.


As the sacramental celebration of Confirmation normally takes place within the context of a Parish Mass, the number of people who can attend will be limited to the secure capacity determined by the COVID-19 risk assessment for the church building.

Again, people attending must remain within their groups of six and observe strict social distancing between each separate group.

Care should be taken to ensure that family groups with sponsors etc do not interact with other groups of six.

Other Aspects of Church Life

Catechetical activities such as sacramental preparation sessions are not considered as being affected by the Rule of Six, as these are formal Religious Education and Formation sessions.

The guidance offered by local dioceses for good practice should be adhered to (for example having fixed groups of children and young people with a catechist) in all cases.

Choirs and music groups

Choirs and music groups are also not considered to be restricted by this Rule as they come under the realms of the Performing Arts Guidance which recognises choirs and music groups during liturgies and their rehearsal periods as a performing art, and therefore are subject to that particular set guidance.


You can download our guidance documents as PDFs:

DocumentLast updatedDownload
Mass: COVID-19 Guidance28 September 2020
Concelebration at Mass: COVID-19 Guidance28 September 2020
Confession: COVID-19 Guidance28 September 2020
Baptisms: COVID-19 Guidance2 October 2020
Funerals: COVID-19 Guidance28 September 2020
Weddings: COVID-19 Guidance28 September 2020
Pastoral Care of the Sick28 September 2020
Adult Initiation (RCIA): COVID-19 Guidance2 October 2020

This guidance is intended to assist Parish Priests to facilitate collective worship safely (i.e. providing the least possible risk of transmission of the virus). The guidance has been compiled with detailed public health advice and scrutiny and complies with the principles established by Government.

Government Advice

The UK Government has published its advice on the safe use of places of worship.

The Welsh Government has published its guidelines on the safe use of places of worship.

Mass: COVID-19 Guidance

Guidance to help parishes with the safe celebration of Mass in accordance with government guidelines on social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Concelebration at Mass: COVID-19 Guidance

This concelebration guidance must also be observed in addition to the Guidance for the Celebration of Mass which is not in conflict with the government guidance on the Safe Use of Places of Worship.

Weddings: COVID-19 Guidance

The Government has updated its guidance for weddings to ensure social interaction is limited to reduce the risk of viral transmission.

Adult Initiation (RCIA): COVID-19 Guidance

Guidance to help parishes with the safe celebration of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

Baptisms: COVID-19 Guidance

Guidance to help parishes with the safe celebration of Baptism - either part of the normal pattern of Mass or outside Mass.

Funerals: COVID-19 Guidance

Parishes are encouraged to live-stream Funeral Services and Requiem Masses so that those who cannot attend may unite themselves to the worship in Church and pray for the deceased

Confession: COVID-19 Guidance

The Sacrament of Confession/Penance requires the one-to-one encounter between a priest and the penitent. As such, this must be conducted in as safe a way as possible.