Letter from Bishop Wack regarding diocesan protocol update

“Greetings in the Risen Lord. In celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we rejoice in the gift of new life that God bestows on us every day. As well, with the good news that more of us are being vaccinated – and the numbers of those infected with Covid-19 remain relatively...”[continue reading]


The Office for Catholic Schools announces the delay of the first day of school due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Other details of the 2020-2021 school calendar will be determined and announced by each individual school.

Escambia County Schools: August 24
St. Mary, Fort Walton Beach: August  24
(UPDATED 7/31/2020) St. John the Evangelist, Panama City: August 24
St. John Paull II High School, Tallahassee: August 24 (student orientations August 20 & 21)
Trinity, Tallahassee: August 24 (student orientations August 20 & 21)


Bishop William A. Wack, CSC announces the reopening of parish ministry gatherings under safety guidelines starting June 15, 2020

Starting on June 15, 2020, Bishop Wack will allow parish ministry gatherings to resume within the diocese under the discretion and supervision of the parish pastor. Each event is to be planned in advance and approved by the pastor after all diocesan safety guidelines have been considered. Both Catholic high schools, which are inter-parochial, may resume similar activities and gatherings under the supervision of the principal.


Please read the safeguards below to adhere to social distancing guidelines during our outdoor Celebration of the Mass on Sundays. Please make sure to bring your own lawn chairs, wear masks and sanitize your hands. Thank you!

Safeguards for Mass on Sundays
Safeguards for Mass on Sundays (1)


We will begin a Celebration of the Mass on Sunday, May 24, 2020. More details to follow.

We are so excited to announce that we will begin outdoor Sunday Mass beginning May 24, 2020


A video and message from Bishop Wack and the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee: Reopening our Churches

What to Expect: Resuming the Celebration of Mass with a Congregation Present:

Reopening the doors of our churches will take careful thought, understanding and cooperation.

The decision to suspend all public Masses in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee was difficult and painful. For the first time in our lives, it was not possible to receive the Eucharist or attend Mass in person, and this was very painful.  At the same time, we know that it was a necessary step to take in order to protect the health and well-being of all in our community. Even in this extraordinary time, the compassion, generosity, and creative responses from parishioners in our parishes and schools have been very encouraging.

As health restrictions begin to ease, it is important for all of us to understand that the process of resuming Mass with a congregation present will not be as straightforward as it was in suspending public Mass. Our Masses and in-person gatherings will not immediately go back to normal. Our patience and understanding will still be very important as we move forward.

We know how eager our parishes are to return to public Mass. Our beloved priests desire to celebrate Masses with our parishioners present once again. Indeed, all of us are filled with the desire to participate in the liturgy and receive the Eucharist. Many hearts are echoing the pleas of Psalm 42:3, “My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I enter and see the face of God?” While it is exciting that we are anticipating offering this option again soon, it is crucial that we approach this next phase with a patient, loving, kind and a charitable mindset.

The specific details of when and how public Mass will resume have yet to be fully determined, but here are five components of this next phase that all should be prepared for.

1. A general dispensation from the Sunday obligation will remain. Many people, especially those who are at risk of possible infection or illness, and those who care for them, are strongly encouraged to stay home and participate in  live streamed Masses, which will continue. This also means that one can come to church for Mass on any day of the week (not just Sunday). This will help to give people more of a chance to celebrate Mass in person at least once a week.

 2. Attendance will be limited. Some restrictions will remain on the capacity of large gatherings, so we are working with parishes to determine a fair way to cap attendance for Masses. It is very important for everyone to be registered with their parish in order to receive communication about this next phase. Make sure that you are in the loop to receive updates about sign-up systems, assigned days, how many people can attend a given Mass and who those people may be, etc. Unfortunately, during this next phase, no one should expect to be able to attend Mass with regularity.

3. Social Distancing will be practiced. Expect your parish to have pews/rows that are roped off. Families will be asked to maintain 6 feet of separation from other families. Be prepared to wear a mask to Mass to guard against the potential spread of the virus.

4. Liturgical changes will be in place. Extra precautions will be taken, such as suspending the distribution of the Precious Blood and strongly recommending receiving the Host only on the hand.

5. Anyone who attends public Mass will still be at risk. Even with the best health practices and strict social distancing, anyone who enters a public space should be aware of the risk. Our churches will be cleaned thoroughly, but the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains.

Finally, let us all seek progress and not perfection. In this next phase, we will certainly meet some challenges and frustrations. Even after this next phase begins, your family may not be able to attend Mass for several weeks. Sign-up systems and parish communication may encounter difficulties, and some attendance strategies may not go according to plan.

It is encouraging to see COVID-19 numbers flatten and decrease. However, for the protection of our diocese and local communities, we do not want to contribute to a rebound effect that would push normalized Mass attendance even further into the future. If we all work together, we can ease back into this, incrementally adding more people and options at Mass.

Thank you for your patience through all of this. Please continue to pray for our diocese, our parishes and schools and our local communities as we navigate this next leg of the journey.


A video from the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee: Forever United


Catholic school campuses, for grades PreK-12, will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year in accordance with the directive of Governor Desantis. eLearning will continue at home for the duration of the 4th quarter.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in our country and our world, the challenges we face grow considerably as well.  The faithful have had to forgo attending Mass in person and have not been able to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Eucharist for two weekends thus far – with the prospect of this continuing for the near future.

While participating in Masses online and offering prayer for spiritual communion – though not perfect – are blessed occasions, many have asked about the possibility of celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  In some circumstances, this is still possible, as priests are able to offer this sacrament individually upon request. However, regular Confession times, as well as parish Reconciliation Services, have been curtailed, and this is distressing especially in this penitential season of Lent. The good news, of course, is that God never abandons us.  While the doors of our churches may be closed right now, the doors of God’s mercy are always wide open.  Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has therefore offered to all the faithful the possibility of obtaining a Plenary Indulgence; that is, the complete forgiveness of sins, during this extraordinary time.

This is especially welcome news for our brothers and sisters who are sick and dying, without access to a priest.  By expressing contrition for their sins, praying for a swift end to this epidemic, and by uniting their sufferings to those of Christ on the cross, their sins can be forgiven by the All-merciful Father. (Please see the Decree from the Vatican following this letter.)

This Plenary Indulgence is also offered to anyone who is quarantined or isolated during this crisis, and to those who are caring for the sick, as well as to health care workers who put themselves in harm’s way simply because of their work and service to our brothers and sisters.  They can receive the Indulgence by completing the same requirements.

Our Lord said to Peter, “…Whose sins you forgive shall be forgiven…” (Jn 20:23).  Today, the successor to Peter, Pope Francis, grants tremendous mercy and care to all the faithful who, through no fault of their own, are obstructed from celebrating the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick.

Like you, I long for the day when we will be able to celebrate the sacraments together again.  Until that glorious day, let us unite our sorrow and sufferings to those of Jesus Christ, who mounted the cross to take away our sins.  And let us rush to the open arms of our Savior who longs to forgive us and give us his peace.

In Christ Jesus, Our Lord,
Most Rev. William A. Wack, CSC
Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee

Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic

The gift of special Indulgences is granted to the faithful suffering from COVID-19 disease, commonly known as Coronavirus, as well as to health care workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom 12:12). The words written by Saint Paul to the Church of Rome resonate throughout the entire history of the Church and guide the judgment of the faithful in the face of all suffering, sickness and calamity.

The present moment in which the whole of humanity, threatened by an invisible and insidious disease, which for some time now has become part of all our lives, is marked day after day by anguished fears, new uncertainties and above all widespread physical and moral suffering.
The Church, following the example of her Divine Master, has always had the care of the sick at heart. As Saint John Paul II points out, the value of human suffering is twofold: “It is supernatural because it is rooted in the divine mystery of the Redemption of the world, and it is likewise deeply human, because in it the person discovers himself, his own humanity, his own dignity, his own mission” (Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, 31).

Pope Francis, too, in these recent days, has shown his paternal closeness and renewed his invitation to pray incessantly for those who are sick with the Coronavirus.

So that all those who suffer because of COVID-19, precisely in the mystery of this suffering, may rediscover “the same redemptive suffering of Christ” (ibid., 30), this Apostolic Penitentiary, ex auctoritate Summi Pontificis, trusting in the word of Christ the Lord and considering with a spirit of faith the epidemic currently underway, to be lived in a spirit of personal conversion, grants the gift of Indulgences in accordance with the following disposition.

The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father's intentions), as soon as possible.

Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.

This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.

The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and everyone to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence, the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, Health of the Sick and Help of Christians, our Advocate, help suffering humanity, saving us from the evil of this pandemic and obtaining for us every good necessary for our salvation and sanctification.

The present Decree is valid notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.
Given in Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 19 March 2020.

Mauro Cardinal Piacenza
Major Penitentiary
Friday 20.03.2020


The Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee announces the cancellation of liturgies of Holy Week and Easter

The Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee announces the continued suspension of public Masses, including liturgies of Holy Week and Easter. Priests will continue to celebrate daily Mass with no congregation.

The Chrism Mass will be rescheduled at a later time. The diocese will provide live streaming of Holy Thursday Mass, Good Friday liturgy, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Mass. To access, visit www.ptdiocese.org/livestreammass. Additional spiritual resources will be offered on the diocesan website during this holy season of the liturgical year.


The Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee announces the cancellation of classes on campuses, for grades PreK-12, through May 1, 2020, in accordance with the directive of Governor Desantis and the Florida Department of Education.

The temporary closing of Early Learning Centers will be determined on a site by site basis. The Office of Catholic Schools is currently developing a Continuity of Learning plan to continue and advance student learning. Faculty are training in distance education. Principals of the diocese will be sending forthcoming information to parents in the coming days.

For up to date information, visit https://ptdiocese.org/coronavirus-updates.



Bishop Wack COVID-19 Video Update


As we continue to strive in our mission to provide help, create hope, and serve all, we are also acknowledging the need for health safety
during these challenging times. Our food pantries are still open, yet operating under temporary changes to days and times.

*Head of Household photo ID will be required for all locations.

FT. WALTON BEACH (850-244-2825)
Groceries: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Bagged Lunches: Monday through Thursday, 12:30-4 p.m.
ADDITIONAL FT. WALTON BEACH INFORMATION: Please wait outside for your name to be called. Only five (5) people will be allowed inside the pantry at a time.

Food Pantry: Monday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
ADDITIONAL PANAMA CITY FOOD PANTRY INFORMATION: Come to the door and let us know you are here. If in a car, pop your trunk, and we will bring your food to you. If you are walking, wait for your food by the door. NEW CLIENTS: Paperwork will be given to you at the door. You may fill these out in your car or at the door. Return your completed paperwork to the door and follow the procedures for the delivery of food.
Panama City Matthew's Nursery: Monday & Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
ADDITIONAL MATTHEW'S NURSERY INFORMATION: Let the door person know the size you need.

TALLAHASSEE (850-222-2180)
USDA Clients: Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
ADDITIONAL TALLAHASSEE USDA INFORMATION: Distribution at the back food pantry door. Drive up and we will load.
Food Pantry Clients: Tuesday and Thursday, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
ADDITIONAL TALLAHASSEE FOOD PANTRY INFORMATION: Distribution will be at the front door. Drive up and we will load.

Please know the Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida staff is keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. We have overcome many challenges over the years. And we will overcome this one, too. We are here for you.


The Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee will suspend public Masses beginning Friday at noon

PENSACOLA, FL (March 18, 2020) – Churches will suspend all public Sunday and weekday Masses beginning noon  Friday, March 20, 2020, until further notice. Bishop William A. Wack, CSC dispenses Catholics from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass while this suspension remains in effect. All other regularly scheduled liturgies and gatherings in churches will be canceled as well. At this time, churches will be open for private prayer and devotion at the pastor’s discretion.

Bishop Wack encourages all Catholics to “keep holy the Sabbath,” by reflecting on the Word of God and pray with the local Catholic community by virtual attendance at daily Mass and Sunday Mass, which can be streamed through the internet by visiting www.ptdiocese.org/livestreammass.

“We are all one in the Body of Christ. Let us pray for each other during this time of crisis and uncertainty. Please join me in praying for our brothers and sisters who are isolated or who are sick. We pray as well for the brave medical personnel and first responders, and all who are caring for the sick and quarantined. And let us not forget those who are lonely, afraid, depressed or anxious at this time,” said Bishop Wack.

Letter from Bishop Wack to the faithful (English)
Letter from Bishop Wack to the faithful (Español)


Catholic Diocese announces PreK-12 classes on campuses will be canceled through April 15, 2020

PENSACOLA, FL (March 18, 2020) – The Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee announces the cancellation of classes on campuses, for grades PreK-12, through April 15, 2020, in accordance with the directive of Governor Desantis and the Florida Department of Education.

The temporary closing of Early Learning Centers will be determined on a site by site basis. The Office of Catholic Schools is currently developing a Continuity of Learning plan to continue and advance student learning. Faculty are training in distance education. Principals of the diocese will be sending forthcoming information to parents in the coming days.

For up to date information, visit www.ptdiocese.org.


A letter to parents from Mike Juhas, superintendent of Catholic Schools, on temporary school closures

Dear Diocesan School and Center Families,

Thank you for your patience and prayers as we all work together with Coronavirus preparation.  Our diocesan principals and directors have been meeting with me virtually today.  Our superintendent also had a virtual conference call with the six other Catholic School Superintendents in Florida.  Notice has gone out that all schools in the state will be closed until March 30 th.  We will follow the same directives, so schools will close through March 29, 2020.   The public schools are on spring break so the governor has added a second week onto spring break giving the schools a two week break with no instruction.
What does that mean for us?

  • We will take a two week break with no instruction;
  • All schools will move their spring break time up to this time period regardless of what their original calendar was for spring break;
  • Our Early Childhood Centers are evaluating their situations and will be in touch with families and staff over the weekend;
  • CYSL will be postponed during this time, effective immediately, until further notice;
  • Take the first week (next week) to rest, pray, rejuvenate so that we can refresh ourselves and center ourselves in Christ;
  • Second week March 23-27, we will bring teachers in to begin working and preparing in the event we do not open on March 30th and will need to begin virtual learning;
  • Second week March 23-27, front office staff, custodians, and all other hourly staff will continue working unless a school determines otherwise;
  • For those schools that are not prepared to begin distance learning because of devices, internet, or students who did not take books home (no one expected schools to close when they dismissed today), parents will be asked to drive through school carline, on a day specified by your school, to pick up necessary items in the event we do not return on March 30th and need to begin virtual classes.

As mentioned before, if we remain closed after March 30th, teachers will still report to school and operate their distance learning from school.  We have never lived through anything like this before, so we will evaluate the process as it unfolds but this is the plan as we begin.  In order to create a daily attendance tracking, teachers will post daily lessons that must be completed by students each day.  The completion of those assignments will be proof of attendance.  More details will be forthcoming.

For any international or cruise travel, the following applies:
Mandatory 14-day self-isolation and practice social distancing upon return to the United States. Social distancing includes avoiding going out in public and close personal interactions. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your county health department or health care provider.
I know that we are not 100% prepared for what may come but there is a plan in place and the rest we place into God’s hands.  It has been an incredibly busy week, and I pray you get some much-needed rest this weekend.  I will keep you updated as this unfolds, but in the meantime, we will move forward with this current plan.  Throughout scripture and in the readings of the saints we read time after time how God was present and active in their lives during times of trial.  We are in times of trial and God is with us!  Be prepared, do not panic, trust in the Lord, and finally be at Peace because so much of this is outside our control.  Let us pray for all those who are working to keep us safe, for those who are ill, for those who died, and for the scientists that they may find a way to prevent further illness.
Linked is an optional novena we ask you to pray beginning on Sunday for our community in this time of need.

Yours in Christ,

Mike Juhas
Superintendent of Catholic Schools


Bishop Wack implements temporary measures against possible infections during Mass

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Due to the increase of the number of cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the following temporary measures for parishes in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee should be taken:

  • Parishioners who are sick or care for the sick should stay home, as should vulnerable adults who are fearful of contracting this virus. Catholics who are ill  are  not obligated to attend Mass, school or liturgical events;
  • Temporarily suspend the distribution of the Precious Blood during Mass;
  • Temporarily suspend shaking hands or a hug during the sign of peace;

In regards to these, follow the direction of the pastor. Also, please strongly consider out of charity for others, and concern for further spread of illness, to receive the Eucharist in the hand during this time.

The diocese will continue to monitor the situation and alter these directives as needed. Please join me in praying for all those who are victims of the virus and the health care providers who are caring for those impacted.

Bishop William A. Wack, CSC

A letter from Bishop Wack and Mike Juhas, superintendent of schools

Dear Diocesan School/Early Learning Center Families:

Our principals and directors met last week and discussed the topic of the Coronavirus. In addition, there has been communication among diocesan offices within the ecclesiastical province of Florida.

Please know that the diocese and schools/early learning centers are treating this virus seriously and are creating plans now on how to react in the case of local confirmed outbreaks. Communication will be cascaded down from the Office for Catholic Schools within the next few days regarding emergency planning including virtual teaching, if a school closure happens to be necessary. In the meantime, we want you to know what we are doing at the school level in an immediate response to the virus.

  • We have either trained employees who clean or a commercial cleaning company who come into the school/center twice a week after hours to clean our classrooms and bathrooms.
  • We have bottles of hand sanitizer and are ordering more to spread throughout the school.
  • We have boxes of tissues in each classroom.
  • We are posting instructions sheets near all sinks for the children on proper handwashing procedures.
  • We have scheduled a safety-training with the Coronavirus as the topic for our staff meeting.


School parents, please remember our school policy that if our local school district closes for weather-related or health-related issues, we also will close that day. We may have a different opening date due to the needs of our specific community, but we defer to the local public school superintendent in regards to school closures, as do the other private schools within our diocese.

PLEASE NOTE: For the remainder of this school year, if a child stays home sick and turns in a doctor note (emailed to the school office), that absence will not be counted against the student in regards to perfect attendance. It is more important to us that you keep your sick children home rather than send them to school in an effort to achieve any perfect attendance award that may exist at your school.

Please remember that our parent/student handbooks state that if a student is ill with anything contagious or has exhibited a fever of 100 degrees or more, rash, vomiting or diarrhea within the last 24 hours, the student may not be sent to school. Please make sure your children are fever-free (without fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours before sending them to school.

Anyone traveling to Level 3 countries (currently China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea) should self-quarantine upon return and avoid contact with others for 14 days.

We are taking a proactive approach, and if nothing else, hurricanes have taught us the importance of being prepared and having a plan in advance. There is nothing to fear at this time, and we want to make sure that everyone is sure to get information from good sources. The CDC and WHO, along with state and local health departments, are our sources of information.

Please see current information on the diocesan website at the following link: