Archdiocese suspends public Masses

Archdiocese suspends public Masses

ST. LOUIS – Catholics will be unable to attend public Mass in the St. Louis Archdiocese while the coronavirus threatens the area.

Archbishop Robert Carlson announced the decision on Monday.

In order to help slow the spread of #COVID19 in our community, I am mandating the suspension of all public Masses in @archstl immediately,” he said via Twitter.

“This decision has not been made lightly,” he explained in a statement. “However, caring for both our physical and spiritual health go hand-in-hand, and the health, safety and overall well-being of the people of the archdiocese is my first priority.”

 

Dispensation from the Catholic obligation to attend Sunday Mass is extended through April 5, which is Palm Sunday this year.  The archdiocese hopes to resume public Mass on April 6, the beginning of Easter Week, but Carlson said he would have to re-evaluate the situation closer to that date. Easter Sunday is April 17.

The ban also includes all public liturgical celebrations such as Stations of the Cross, Bible studies, the Liturgy of the Hours and other group activities. However, churches may remain open for individuals for personal prayer, devotions and confessions.

The archdiocese added Monday in a statement:

“The decisions to continue with baptisms, weddings and funerals will be made at the parish level with the understanding that the celebration of these sacraments are to include only immediate family members.

“All fish fries that remain open will offer either drive-through or pick-up options only.”

Earlier, the archdiocese decided to close all of its elementary and high schools — including all grades pre-K through 12 — beginning Wednesday, March 18.

“Many of our parishes are now live streaming,” said Peter Frangie, the executive director of communications and planning for the archdiocese.

Masses and other services from the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis also are live streamed. Live-streamed and televised options for Mass are listed on the archdiocese’s website at archstl.org and will continue to be updated.

Various area Catholic organizations, including the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Charities of St. Louis and the Annual Catholic Appeal, are helping those in need because of the COVID-19 crisis, Frangle said.

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