Diocese releases guidelines for celebration of Sacrament of Confirmation during pandemic
Friday, May. 22, 2020
On May 15, Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, sent a memo to all priests and directors of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, regarding the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation this year.
The text of the memo is below.
Following the recommendation of the Office of Worship, Bishop Oscar A Solis has decreed the following:
Sacrament of Confirmation
Bishop Solis will delegate each pastor/administrator to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation in their individual parishes. Individual letters of delegation are being prepared. This will include cancelling the Adult Confirmation scheduled for May 30, 2020 and allowing the adult candidates to receive the sacrament as part of the parish celebration. If at a later date there is still a need and the pandemic has subsided, another date for Adult Confirmation will be scheduled in late 2020 or early 2021.
Rite of Christian Initiation
For the Rite of Christian Initiation conferral of sacraments, the bishop has dispensed with not only the first two scrunities, but the third scrutiny as well – given the special circumstances of the pandemic. However, those pastors/administrators who choose to celebrate the third scrutiny may select their own date to celebrate that rite.
Keeping in mind the spirit of the RCIA process, the date selected should allow the appropriate time for preparation of the elect and candidates prior to the celebration followed by a period of postbaptismal mystagogy.
Guided by the bishop’s directive, dated May 1, 2020, pastors who choose, nonetheless, to celebrate the third scrutiny should develop options for the celebration that follow the current government/county directives with regards to social distancing and other limitations that will ensure the safety and well-being of those receiving the sacrament and those attending.
Things to Consider Include:
• If the number of individuals involved, those receiving the sacrament, godparents, sponsors, immediate family and parish community, exceeds the size of the worship space and number of pews when local limits are in place;
• Locating an alternative space that would allow more individuals to attend the liturgy with the acceptable social distancing required, such as an outdoor parking lot, football field/track, or school gym;
• If a rehearsal is desired, it could be recorded with the minimum number of those receiving the sacrament and their godparent/sponsor and then shared with all who will be participating;
• Asking those receiving confirmation to choose a local proxy, such as a confirmation catechist or a RCIA team member to keep the attendees to a minimum;
• Exploring ways to ensure that the liturgical actions, such as the anointing with Holy Chrism at Confirmation, be administered safely for both the candidate and the priest;
• Using disposable worship aids or projecting them on a screen rather than using a hymnal.
• Limiting the number of participants to just those receiving the sacrament, their godparent/sponsor and livestreaming the celebration for families and friends;
• Limiting the number of participants to those receiving the sacrament, their godparent/sponsor and immediate family with livestreaming for friends and the parish community;
• Over the course of several weeks celebrating a sacrament at Sunday Liturgy with two to four individuals and their families;
• Waiting until such time that all, children and godparents, family, friends and parish community can celebrate together.