Regathering Process

The Diocese of Des Moines has created a process to determine when and how a parish may re-open after suspension of public worship due to COVID-19. The process was created and is implemented by a committee of clergy and laity. The committee monitors the daily number and trend of coronavirus cases in the 23 counties of our diocese & consults with local medical experts to determine when it is prudent to reopen a parish for public worship.

Opening occurs in phases

Phase 1 - This step refers to weekday only Mass with specific guidelines that include physical distancing, wearing of masks or face coverings, sanitary measures and liturgical requirements. Here are the details related to this phase. Please note:  Phase 1 guidelines remain applicable in phases 2 and 3 

Phase 2 - This step refers to expanding worship to include both weekday and weekend Mass and other forms of worship following guidelines listed in Phase 1. Here are the details related to this phase.

Phase 3 - This step refers to gatherings at a parish outside of worship such as meetings and socials. Here are the details related to this phase.

The 80 parishes in the Des Moines diocese may not all be in the same phase depending on the number of coronavirus cases as reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health. At this point in time, all counties are in phase 3

Temporary Adjustment to Phase 3 Regathering Guidelines:

As of August 6th, 2021 the Diocese recommends that parishoners use masks during all indoor liturgies and indoor parish events. 

As parishes implement regathering procedures, the following documents may be of assistance:

  1. Liturgical Guidelines that apply during phases 1-3. 
  2. Cleaning instructions for Mass and other events. 
  3. Guidelines for celebrating Sacraments of Initiation, funerals and weddings During COVID-19. 
  4. A discernment tool to help parishes establish when and how non-worship gatherings should resume. 
  5. A facility usage agreement template that addresses COVID-19 expectations. 
  6. A risk acknowledgment template for youth gatherings. 

The Diocese of Des Moines continues to monitor the public health situation in southwest Iowa by watching county specific COVID-19 data, and by frequently consulting with local medical experts and diocesan priests. If the diocese observes a significant local increase in COVID-19 cases over the course of two weeks they will consider resuming previous phase restrictions on gatherings and public Masses. These decisions will be made on a county specific basis, and in consultation with the diocesan regathering team, local pastors, and medical experts.


If parishes have questions about these, or any other elements, of regathering please contact Adam Storey at 515-237-5056 or