Bishop Richard F. Stika has encouraged Catholics in the Diocese of Knoxville to take seriously the recommendations made by U.S. health experts when it comes to combating the coronavirus. The bishop took an unprecedented, yet necessary, step when he suspended all public Masses in the diocese, effective March 20. 

Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Bishop Richard F. Stika has issued a decree to assist the clergy and the faithful in the spiritual celebration of Palm Sunday and Holy Week.

There will be no public gatherings during Holy Week. The Chrism Mass will be postponed. The Rite of Christian Initiation and/or Reception into Full Communion, which normally takes place on the Easter Vigil, will be postponed and rescheduled once restrictions are lifted.

Bishop Stika will privately celebrate liturgies throughout Holy Week available to watch via live stream:

  • Palm Sunday: Sunday, April 5 at 9 a.m.
  • Holy Thursday: Thursday, April 9 at 7 p.m.
  • Good Friday: Friday, April 10 at 3 p.m.
  • Easter Vigil: Saturday, April 11 at 7 p.m.
  • Easter Sunday: Sunday, April 12 at 9 a.m.

Video Resources and Special Prayers

Bishop Stika's opening statements at
Mass for the Solemnity of St. Joseph

Bishop Stika's homily for
the Solemnity of St. Joseph

Bishop Stika consecrates the Diocese of Knoxville to St. Joseph

Consecration by Bishop Stika of the Diocese of Knoxville to St. Joseph
March 19, 2020

Saint Joseph, we are kneeling before you in this hour of trial. At this time, when humanity must turn to God and affirm together these words: "Jesus, I trust in You", we invoke your help. You are such a strong example of the faith and piety of the New Covenant. Into your hands God the Father entrusted the protection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Through the decisions you made, you gave us a model of how to fulfill God’s will. Enlighten and strengthen those who govern our country so that their decisions will help to save the lives of many and prevent the spread of infection.

Saint Joseph, through the power of your prayer we find solutions to most difficult problems. Now, lifting up our prayers, we humbly ask your protection and intercession with God. Take away the threat of the coronavirus spreading among us. Assist all our brothers and sisters, especially those who are sick and suffering and dying. Be our guide in situations that seem hopeless and without solution. Be for us, as your title proclaims, the Guardian of the Church. Be also in these difficult days the loving Protector of all humanity.

We beg you to be moved by our present needs. Come and help us. Sustain us in our fears, worries, pains and tribulations.

Saint Joseph, together with Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for the Church and the whole world. Remember especially the Church in Knoxville and her people who lovingly invoke the blessing of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.