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Diocese News April 27, 2021

Bishop Burns issues update to Phase 3 Decree

While this decree does not begin Phase Four, it does replace the initial Phase Three decree issued on June 17, 2020.

While the Diocese is not yet proceeding to Phase Four of the re-opening process, the following important updates have been made to the Phase Three Decree:

  • All Catholics in the Diocese of Dallas remain dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and other Holy Days of Obligation.
  • As pastors have had many months working through the pandemic and are best able to determine the needs and concerns of their parishes, it is left to the judgment of the pastors to make decisions concerning the following:
    • Maximum capacity requirements for Mass or other gatherings in parishes. While there is no diocesan-wide capacity requirement (either minimum or maximum), nor is there any requirement to leave every other row empty during Mass, pastors should establish a space (either a separate Mass time or a separated space in the church) that provides a fully socially-distanced environment for those with concerns about gathering.
    • Masking and other sanitary policies, with the expectation that masks be worn out of charity for others.
    • The frequency, gathering and seating requirements for any other event at parishes; pastors must remain mindful of the health concerns of their parishes and of the need to avoid unnecessarily large groupings of people.
  • While all are encouraged to seek out a vaccine for COVID-19, parishes may not require that members of the Faithful present proof of vaccination for entrance into a church or parish building.
  • Guidelines concerning reception of Holy Communion remain unchanged.
  • The Sign of Peace remains suspended, but at the discretion of the pastor, collection baskets may be distributed, hymnals may be utilized, and gifts may be brought up in procession.


This updated Decree replaces the prior Phase Three Decree and is effective immediately. Please see the full Decree for additional information.

View Full Updates to Phase 3 - April 21, 2021