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Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Updated Aug. 23, 2021
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor said priests in Arkansas could not facilitate a “religious exemption” for employers’ COVID-19 vaccination mandate. In a letter to priests dated Aug. 23, 2021, Bishop Taylor instructed priests to decline to sign any religious exemption documents. Exemptions sometimes are requested by employees whose employers are requiring the vaccination to continue employment. | Read This Statement
"Everyone who can be vaccinated has been repeatedly and strongly encouraged to do so — not only by me but also even by Pope Francis ... Diocesan policy will not be dictated by those who, despite strong and clear encouragement, refuse to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and others. So, for now, the only restriction that remains in place diocesan-wide is that the Precious Blood will continue not to be distributed to the faithful at Mass. Having said that, given the principle of subsidiarity, individual parishes are free to take steps to address the threat locally. This could include making mask-wearing mandatory at one of their Masses or setting aside one section of the nave for physical distancing and the exclusive use of mask-wearing participants," wrote Bishop Anthony B. Taylor. | Read This Statement | En Español | Masses with Mask Mandates
"With the spike in COVID infections and the presence of the delta variant in Arkansas, a question has arisen whether we should re-impose restrictions to protect those who have not been vaccinated. The answer is generally NO, though the principle of subsidiarity would allow for this in isolated instances," Bishop Taylor wrote. "If the situation changes or evolves with respect to variants, vaccine efficacy or directives from the governor of the state of Arkansas, the diocese is certainly open to reassessing the approach we need to take." | Read This Statement | En Español
"I do recommend, but do not require, continued mask-wearing for those who are not yet fully vaccinated or who are otherwise especially vulnerable," Bishop Taylor wrote in a letter to the people of the Diocese of Little Rock. He also explained that distancing of family groups during Mass and changes made in churches and on parish property since March 2020 will be left to each pastor to decide in a separate letter to priests.| Read This Letter | En Español | Arkansas Catholic
"Thanks to the cooperation of our people with the protocols we have had in place to mitigate the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing number of people who have been vaccinated, we are now in a position to make a few modifications in the protocols to be observed effective April 1. We expect to be able to return to pre-pandemic conditions once everyone who wants to get a vaccination is able to get one," he wrote. | Read This Statement | En Español | Vatican COVID-19 Commission
"Here in Arkansas we are not currently given a choice regarding which vaccine to receive — each place has only one option to offer. Therefore, unless this changes, Catholics here can — and, in the interest of the common good, should — receive whichever vaccine is offered, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If for reasons of personal conscience any Catholic refuses a vaccine when it becomes available, that person has a moral obligation to do their utmost to avoid becoming a vehicle of transmission to others, especially the most vulnerable," Bishop Taylor wrote. | Read This Statement | En Español | Vatican COVID-19 Commission
"Receiving the vaccine is morally permissible. In fact, to be vaccinated against COVID-19 now is morally praiseworthy inasmuch as it protects the health of the person being vaccinated and likely protects others as well." | Read this Statement | En Español
"Just a quick update on my health: The Monoclonal Antibody Infusion I received on Friday, Dec. 11 really has made a big difference, and by Sunday my symptoms had improved markedly. My main symptoms now are just coughing and fatigue, which may continue for some time even when I am out of quarantine. Sincere thanks to everyone for their prayers and support," wrote Bishop Taylor. | Read this Statement | En Español
"At the advice of my doctor, I am in isolation awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, which may be positive because since yesterday I have been experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19," Bishop Taylor wrote. | Read this Statement | En Español
“As the bishop of Little Rock, I thank God for the great work undertaken by Catholic health care ministries in Arkansas, ministries that can only exist because of people like you. Your daily work is an extension of the healing ministry of Jesus. Like the ministry of Jesus, your work is loving, sacrificial and life-giving. Just as the ministry of Jesus did, your work gives hope and strength to all it touches — and to society as a whole," Bishop Taylor wrote. | Read this Statement | En Español
"Clarification: If you are in a risk group identified by the CDC or — after serious prayer and deliberation — remain very fearful otherwise, you can consider yourself still dispensed. Older adults and persons with certain medical conditions, including asthma and diabetes, have been identified by the CDC as being at greater risk. When dealing with fear or otherwise in doubt, feel free to consult with your pastor regarding your specific situation," wrote Bishop Taylor. | Read this Statement | En Español
"There has been no change in the protocols in place for protecting our people from the spread of COVID-19 on church property and at church functions. All requirements of mask wearing, 6 feet physical distancing and hand sanitizing remain in place," wrote Bishop Taylor. | Read this Statement | En Español
“We are not aware of even a single case of transmission linked to participation in worship in any Catholic church in Arkansas — or for that matter, not any other Catholic church in the United States where these protocols were in place," Bishop Taylor wrote. "Therefore, we are now in a position to lift the dispensation from the obligation of in-person Sunday Mass attendance for everyone who is in good health and not especially vulnerable or caring for someone who is especially vulnerable effective Oct. 1. | Read this Statement | En Español
“Please pray that this initial loosening of restrictions may be successful and that conditions will soon allow us to return to ever greater participation in the sacramental life of the Church," wrote Bishop Taylor. | Read this Statement | En Español
"According to our public health officials, physical separation needs to continue to be maintained for the time being, so I am extending our present suspension of activities (and the corresponding dispensation of the Sunday obligation) to May 18," wrote Bishop Taylor. | Read this Statement | En Español
"The Sunday Mass obligation is dispensed for all Catholics effective immediately. Public Masses shall be suspended starting the weekend of March 21-22, except for small groups at the discretion of the priest. Whenever possible churches will be kept open during daylight hours for private prayer and eucharistic Adoration as an alternative to Sunday Mass," wrote Bishop Taylor. | Read this Statement | En Español
If you or someone you love has contracted the coronavirus and are in need of a priest, click on the button above to find contact information for a specific priest. Or, if are looking for a priest near you, visit our Parish Directory to find contact information for a priest in your area.
Bishop Taylor lifted the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass (in person) Oct. 1, 2020, for those in good health. The dispensation remains in effect for those under certain conditions. Effective May 15, 2021, masks became optional but still recommended at Mass. Distancing of family groups during Mass and changes made in churches and on parish property since March 2020 are now left up to each pastor to decide. Contact your parish directly for Mass times and current anti-COVID-19 protocols.
Even though the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass (in person) was lifted for people in good health, it remains for some under certain conditions, which include: those who are ill; those who are under quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19; those who are especially vulnerable to Covid-19 or caring for someone who is especially vulnerable (e.g., due to chronic illness, advanced age, or in a high risk group as defined by the CDC); and those who, after serious prayer and deliberation, remain very fearful of attending Mass due to Covid-19. For those unable to attend in person, several options are available to watch Mass online or on television. If you miss the recording live, the recordings are available for playback at any time. Please confirm times with the parish to make sure you have the most up to date information.
See online Mass times for parishes across the Diocese of Little Rock
See online Mass options worldwide
Per Bishop Taylor's directive, face-to-face confessions are only permitted when 6 feet physical distance can be maintained. A screen must separate the penitent and confessor and disinfectant wipes should be used to wipe down the screen between confessions. Small "confessional boxes" are problematic; a larger room or outdoor venue is preferable. See also guidelines on "Drive-Thru Confessions."
We list regular confession times for parishes statewide, but we recommend you contact your parish directly to confirm its confession times and location. Many parishes are offering special confession times during this crisis and may need to make adjustments to when and where they offer the sacrament of reconciliation until the threat of COVID-19 is gone.
The Vatican established special indulgences to anyone suffering from COVID-19, as well as health care workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.
This includes a list of prayers specific to this crisis, acts of spiritual communion as well as links to general Catholic prayers and prayers to say at the end of the rosary for an end to the pandemic.
Tips include how to do a holy hour, keep holy the Sabbath as well as how to light a virtual prayer candle and get details on the special indulgences available during this crisis
If you are in need of prayer, please submit a prayer request. These prayers are offered up at Masses celebrated by Bishop Anthony B. Taylor and other priests at St. John Catholic Center in Little Rock.
Catholic ministries are working hard to help parishioners continue to practice their faith in the domestic church. This page offers a list of faith formation resources in Arkansas and beyond that have been created specifically for this crisis or have been made available for free during this time.