News: Although publicly celebrated Masses suspended, diocese prepares for re-entry

May 10, 2020

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Bishop William Joensen, in consultation with an ad hoc committee of clergy and laity, is sharing with parishes guidelines for how to go about re-opening churches for the public celebration of Mass and the sacraments when the time is right.

Until then, the public celebration of Mass continues to be suspended to prevent the spread of the virus COVID-19. 

In a letter to the faithful May 9, Bishop Joensen said it remains uncertain when the faithful will be able to gather around the table of the Lord and celebrate baptisms, weddings, funerals, confirmation and other sacraments as a full community. But preparations are underway for that day when Mass can be publicly celebrated again. The diocese is watching the data on the numbers of new cases of COVID-19.

The first phase of re-entry involves publicly celebrating Mass only on weekdays (Monday-Saturday) and only when certain criteria are met. 

Even when Mass resumes, the Sunday Mass obligation will remain suspended because the diocese wants to protect vulnerable members of our communities and not spread the virus. 

"I pray that all of us -- myself included -- will charitably embrace the gradual manner in which we resume a Eucharistic rhythm of life, for reasons of necessary social distancing and due diligence in cleaning and restoring our churches to a safe environment each time we gather for Mass," he said. 

"May God's Spirit, the Spirit of charity and abundant life, the Spirit of a prophetic, priestly people, be with us where we are now, and where God will have us be: united as one Body, more than ever before," he wrote.

Here is his letter to the people and accompanying information.