April 28, 2020
Our Dear People:
Since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, Catholics in Iowa have been obliged by civil,
scientific, and church authorities to sacrifice the opportunity to receive sacraments and worship in
With the lifting of restrictions against certain public gatherings, including religious assemblies, by
Governor Kim Reynolds, members of the faithful are understandably renewed in their hope that
they might safely return to church and resume some form of regular parish life. Yet the spread of
the COVID-19 disease remains a real and present danger. In particular, the health and survival of
the elderly and other vulnerable populations is still a grave concern. Many parishioners and priests
fall within these groups.
In light of the expectation that positive cases of COVID-19 will peak in Iowa in the next few weeks,
we have decided it would be most prudent for now to continue to follow the liturgical restrictions
we have in place, including the suspension of public Masses. Without an effective vaccine or
widespread testing and contact data that justifies a change in course, we simply are not at a place
where we can resume our previous prayer practices.
The suspension of the Sunday Mass obligation remains in effect statewide, and all vulnerable
persons, the sick, and those may who have been exposed to the virus are asked to look after their
own welfare with the support of those who care for them. We ask parish, school and diocesan staff
to continue to minister to the faithful, and the faithful to each other, in ways other than meeting in
groups during this difficult time of the pandemic. We strongly encourage parishioners to visit the
website and social media outlets of the parishes and schools to stay in touch as we look forward to
gathering in person.
We will continue to closely monitor the statewide and respective regional situations through the
weeks of May and beyond. When the time comes that we can gather in greater numbers while
observing social distance, safe hygienic practices and other precautions without placing one
another at serious risk, public Masses and other sacramental celebrations will be allowed to
These days are not easy. We understand that many of you are frustrated with this situation; so are
we. We want to celebrate Mass with our parishioners and get back to “normal.” However, we take
the advice of Paul: “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
Take comfort in knowing that Jesus is with us and with you, our faithful.
Your brothers in Christ,
Archbishop Michael Jackels, Archbishop of Dubuque
Bishop Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City
Bishop Thomas Zinkula, Bishop of Davenport
Bishop William Joensen, Bishop of Des Moines