Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Updated Liturgical Guidelines in Preparation for the Upcoming Observances of Advent and Christmas

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announces updated liturgical directives that were recently shared with all priests and deacons. They pertain to the celebration of Advent and Christmas within the context of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

These liturgical guidelines are intended to provide for the pastoral needs of the faithful while respecting and abiding by directives from government agencies concerning gatherings and crowd sizes.  

Condensed highlights are presented below. A full copy of these guidelines, along with comprehensive supplemental resources, can be found at

  • The faithful continue to be dispensed by the Archbishop from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation until further notice.
  • Live stream services should continue for Mass and other sacramental celebrations and devotions.
  • In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in accord with the current directives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Centers for Disease Control, the mitigating standards of sanitation, social distancing and numbers of occupancy, as already presented in the directives published on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 continue to be in force.
  • Regarding the schedule for Masses for Christmas, the Anticipated Mass for Sundays and the Vigil Mass for Solemnities, like the Nativity of the Lord, are celebrated no earlier than 4:00 p.m. So, the first Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve can begin as early as 4:00 p.m.
  • If there is a genuine need, the Vigil Mass for Christmas for a parish may be as early as 2:00 p.m.

Regarding the Celebration of Mass, the Sacred Liturgy is to be celebrated, as always, according to what is prescribed in the liturgical books as directed to the worship of Almighty God.

  • All parishes in the Archdiocese are to provide, as usual, the scheduled occasions for Confessions.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will continue to stream the 11:00 a.m. Mass live from the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul every Sunday. The Archdiocese will also stream the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Tuesday, December 8th at 12:05 p.m.; the 5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass; and the Solemn Midnight Mass on Christmas Day; and the 12:00 p.m. Christmas Day Mass. All Masses will be streamed via

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Editor’s Note: For comprehensive information about the pastoral and temporal response of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit  


Contact: Alaina N. Longo

Deputy Communications Officer

215-587-3747 (office)