ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In a statement from Bishop Salvatore Matano, all “public Masses” in the Diocese of Rochester have been suspended until further notice in response to growing concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The Bishop’s statement referenced that this decision was in part a result of medical advice. “Due to growing concerns, ongoing medical advice, as well as continuing local and state government restrictions in social settings to limit the rapid spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, all public Masses in the Diocese of Rochester are suspended until further notice, effective immediatly, March 16, 2020,” read the statement.
Churches will remain open for private prayer “pending further regulations and as feasible in local situations, at the discretion of the pastor/administrator,” the Bishop continued.
The statement also clarified that weddings and funerals will be permitted to take place, as long as no more than 50 people are in attendance, as per the State’s crowd limits. Further restrictions may be put in place as situations change.
Priests are still being asked to perform Mass each day without a congregation present. “I ask our priests to offer Mass rach day, without the presence of the faithful, fulfilling their scheduled Mass intentions, as well as praying for all entrusted to their pastoral care,” said Bishop Matano in his statement.
The Bishop ended his statement asking “all Catholics and all God’s people to continue to pray for the community, especially those who are sick and for the most vulnerable, for our medical community and our government and health leaders who are guiding us in this emergency.”
The Diocese said that further updates will be provided as needed regarding Mass regulations and suspensions.
Some local churches stream their mass services online; click here for more information.