Ukrainian Bishops on COVID-19

4. We encourage you to make best use of the quarantine time, which coincides with Great Lent, for personal prayer, reading the Word of God, and building a more profound relationship with Our Lord, our neighbors and in our families.

5. We ask that all the Lenten practices  e.g., missions and spiritual exercises  be held with the aid of the internet and other means of social communication.

Sacraments and Sacramentals

1. We kindly ask that you postpone, in consultation with your pastor, the Sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism and Chrismation) and Matrimony.

2. The faithful can avail themselves of the Sacrament of Repentance (Confession) in church, taking all necessary precautions for social distancing.

3. In cases of grave illness or danger of death, priests are obligated to administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, while assuring safety for all involved.

4. Priests will celebrate funerals with the participation only of the immediate family members of the deсeased, according to local regulations regarding public assemblies.

Practical advice

1. Dear priests, religious, sisters and brothers! If you feel sick, we urge you to stay at home, call your doctor, and obey all medical and civil regulations.

2. We encourage our pastors to maintain personal contact with their faithful, especially with the elderly and sick by phone and via social media. Our priestly ministry continues without ceasing.

3. Confessions are to take place in the open, not in a confessional. Safety of the penitent and priest must be assured.

4. Frequently sanitize with disinfectant whatever people tend to touch in the churches: pews, door handles, etc.

5. During private prayer in church, maintain a safe distance from each other (6 feet or 2 meters).

6. Venerate icons and the Cross by bowing your head and with a sign of the cross or by prostrations. Do not kiss icons or the Cross.

7. Comply with the guidelines and prescriptions of governmental authorities (town, county, state, federal) regarding public gatherings and personal safety.

These norms are effective immediately after being published on Wednesday, March 19, 2020. We carefully follow developments, consult experts and will update our norms and regulations according to new information and circumstances. 

God is calling us to a new and deeper spiritual awareness. We encourage you to stay united in the communion of the Holy Spirit! Pray! Stay vigilant! Sing, smile, and laugh! Exercise and read! Pay attention to your health and help people who are under risk in your family as well as in your neighborhood! Communicate and support each other in spirit and deed!

The blessing of the Lord be upon you!

+ Borys Gudziak
Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians
Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States