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Bishop Foys suspends public weekday, Sunday Masses, all parish meetings, socials and more

Bishop Roger J. Foys has suspended public weekday and Sunday Masses across the Diocese effective Friday, March 20, until further notice, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In making this decision and others, Bishop Foys said he has consulted with fellow bishops, established a Coronavirus task force, spoken with almost very pastor, and followed information provided by the Center for Disease Control.

Here are his directives:

“1. Public weekday and Sunday Masses in every parish church, in every chapel and oratory, in every religious house, in any of our institutions are suspended effective Friday, 20 March 2020. Since the situation is so fluid, this suspension will be in effect until further notice. There are no exceptions to this suspension.

“2. Public celebration of the Sacraments and other public forms of worship are suspended indefinitely. This includes Lenten Penance Services, other Lenten devotions, celebrations of First Holy Communion, Communion Services, etc. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list.

“3. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) and Anointing of the Sick are permitted on a private basis upon request.

“4. Funerals, burial services, and already scheduled weddings are permitted but attendance must be limited to a maximum of 10 participants. This includes the celebrant.

“5. Parish priests are advised to provide the faithful with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for a brief period each day. Attendees are directed to practice social distancing.

“6. All parish office activity
is to be suspended for a period of two weeks beginning on Friday, 20 After that date, parish office activity should be limited to a few days a week at most with a minimum number of staff.

“7. All parish meetings of any kind are likewise to be canceled.

“8. All parish socials of any sort are to be canceled. This includes, but is not limited to, fish frys (eat-in or carry-out) and bingo.”

All previously published diocesan protocols addressing the COVID-19 remain in force. . .
“To suspend the public celebration of the Eucharist and other sacraments is the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my 47 years as a priest and 18 years as a bishop. I make it with a heavy heart and with profound sadness.”

Bishop Foys encourages everyone to pray at home and understand that this is a difficult and unusual situation

“Decisions must be made on fact and in faith taking into account all of God’s people,” he said. “These are difficult and trying times but, with deep faith and sure hope, we will get through them and hopefully better appreciate all the good things the Lord has given us for our journey, the most important of which is His Body and Blood.

“Let us keep each other in prayer.”

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