April 30, 2021
To the Rectors and Priests-in-Charge of the Diocese
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Recently, I announced to the deans that Bishops Allen, Mary, and I are planning to offer services of Confirmation and Reception in late Spring and early Summer. We now have those services planned, and I write to give you those dates and times, and the restrictions which COVID still requires of us. No confirmations have taken place in the Diocese of New York since March 8, 2020, and we know that many of our parishes have classes of confirmands who have waited patiently for a long time to receive the sacrament. We are extraordinarily sensitive to this, and speaking personally, all three of us keenly miss the confirmations, too! We very much intend to resume Sunday visitations in September of this year and look forward to “catching up” on all those confirmations and receptions. We are aware, however, that there are people in unique circumstances which require our attending to this now, or churches which have smaller groups, and that is why we are offering these services.
We will hold three services, all of them in the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. I will be the celebrant, and Bishops Allen and Mary will concelebrate with me at the altar. The rites of confirmation and reception will be divided among us at three stations in the church. The dates we have arrived at are May 29, June 19, and July 10, all of them are Saturdays, and all at 10:30 in the morning. At each of the three services, the number of candidates will be limited to fifty, and each candidate will be permitted to invite only two guests. Things are getting better in America and in New York regarding the pandemic, but we must still observe the necessary safety protocols, and that very much includes masking and distancing. As large as the cathedral is, we are only prepared to host congregations of 150 people.

These limitations will make it difficult, if even possible, to accommodate large confirmation classes from our biggest churches. So, we are prepared to schedule those churches as the first visitations when we resume in September. When we are in your own church, obviously the requirement that you limit guests will not be an issue.

Requests to be included in these Cathedral confirmation services should be made by clicking on the button below and completing the online form. Once your attendance is recorded, Arlene Bullard, my Assistant for Special Projects, will send you a packet of information which will include certificates, health and safety protocols and other resources to help you plan for the day. If you can be flexible about which of the three dates you will attend that would be extremely helpful. If you have a larger group and would be willing to have your group split across two or all three of the dates that will also be very helpful.

Arlene will provide you with a ton of information, but for now, please let us know if you have a class to include in these early confirmations via the online form below, and we can begin to make our plans! We so much look forward to seeing you, and to welcoming your candidates into this next chapter of their lives in Christ. Until then, I remain

Dietsche sig

The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche
Bishop of New York