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Do We Have Mass? Coronavirus Closures And Dispensations In US Dioceses

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In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, bishops across the country have taken steps to curtail the spread of the illness, and many dioceses have announced restrictions on public Mass and other liturgies. 

Below is CNA’s rolling coverage of restrictions and special measures taken by dioceses, organized by province, and the status of public Masses and school closings. This list will be updated regularly as news comes in, but check with your diocese for any to-the-minute changes where you live.

Province of Anchorage (Archdiocese of Anchorage, Dioceses of Juneau, and Fairbanks):

There have been no ordered changes to Mass schedules due to the coronavirus within the Archdiocese of Anchorage or any of its suffragan dioceses in Alaska. 

Province of Atlanta (Archdiocese of Atlanta, Dioceses of Savannah, Charleston, Raleigh, Charlotte):  

The Archdiocese of Atlanta issued a statement saying that “People who are ill should not attend Mass, but may participate from home by watching a televised or broadcast Mass. Remind your parishioners, if they are sick or if they are the caretaker for someone who is sick, their obligation to attend Mass is dispensed.” Mass schedule remains unchanged. 

Public Masses will continue as scheduled in the Dioceses of Charleston, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Savannah, but those who are sick or fearful of getting sick have been dispensed of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

Province of Baltimore (Archdiocese of Baltimore, Dioceses of Wheeling-Charleston, Wilmington, Richmond, Arlington): 

The Archdiocese of Baltimore closed Catholic schools from March 16-27, but Mass will continue on a normal schedule. Those who are sick or fearful of getting sick have been dispensed of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

Bishop Mark Brennan of Wheeling-Charleston has suspended “for the time being the public celebration of Mass, both for Sunday obligation and daily Masses”, beginning the afternoon of March 14.

The Dioceses of Arlington has dispensed from their Sunday obligation Catholics who are over 60, chronically ill or immuno-deficient, or concerned about being in public gatherings.

Province of Boston (Archdiocese of Boston, Dioceses of Burlington, Fall River, Manchester, Portland, Springfield Ma., Worcester):

Public Masses have been suspended in the Archdiocese of Boston.

The Dioceses of Burlington, Fall River, Manchester, Portland, Springfield in Massachusetts, and Worcester will have Mass as normally scheduled, but the sick and those caring for the sick are instructed to stay home. 

Province of Chicago (Archdiocese of Chicago, Dioceses of Belleville, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, Springfield Ill.): 

The Archdiocese of Chicago has suspended all public liturgies and closed all archdiocesan schools “until further notice.” 

The Diocese of Joliet suspended public Masses for the weekend of March 14-15, and dispensed Catholics from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass.

Province of Cincinnati (Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Dioceses of Cleveland, Columbus, Steubenville, Toledo, Youngstown): 

The Catholic Conference of Ohio has issued a joint statement signed by all the bishops in the state stating that all Catholics in the state of Ohio are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for the next three weekends. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has published the decree in the archdiocese.

Province of Denver (Archdiocese of Denver, Dioceses of Cheyenne, Colorado Springs, Pueblo): 

Public celebration of the Mass has been suspended across the entire state of Colorado.

Province of Detroit ( Archdiocese of Detroit, Dioceses of Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette, Saginaw): 

The Archdiocese of Detroit has temporarily suspended all public Masses, and closed all Catholic schools from March 13 through April 6.

The Diocese of Lansing has dispensed all Catholics from their Sunday Mass obligation and closed schools for three weeks. Lansing’s bishop says that while the state governor has been banned gatherings of 250 or more people, “we will do all we can to comply,” but will not cancel Sunday Mass.

Bishop Paul Bradley of Kalamazoo granted “a dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for those who feel they are at risk and need to stay home. All regularly scheduled Masses will be
celebrated for those who are able to participate.”

Province of Dubuque (Archdiocese of Dubuque, Dioceses of Davenport, Des Moines, Sioux City): 

The Archdiocese of Dubuque has published no information or changes regarding COVID-19 on its website. The Dioceses of Des Moines, Davenport and Sioux City have also not published any new information. 

Province of Galveston-Houston (Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Dioceses of Austin, Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Tyler, Victoria): 

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston issued a statement saying, “At this time when the faithful need to maintain some degree of normalcy in the midst of the current health crisis, the Archdiocese is recommending that each parish continue to maintain their regular Mass schedules for all those who wish to participate.  Any parishioners who are uncomfortable about attending Sunday Mass due to the coronavirus are excused from the obligation to attend.” 

Province of Hartford (Archdiocese of Hartford, Dioceses of Bridgeport, Norwich, Providence): 

The Archdiocese of Hartford issued precautions similar to those in other archdioceses, but did not adjust Mass schedules.

The Diocese of Providence has not suspended public Masses, but said in a statement that “in light of the serious health crisis caused by the coronavirus, the Diocesan Bishop hereby dispenses Catholics in the Diocese of Providence from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass beginning immediately and continuing through Sunday, March 29, 2020.”

The Diocese of Bridgeport has dispensed Catholics of their Sunday obligation through the end of March.

Province of Indianapolis (Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Dioceses of Evansville, Fort Wayne-South Bend, Gary, Lafayette): 

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis will be celebrating Mass as scheduled, but Catholics residing within the archdiocese are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice. 

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has dispensed Catholics of their Sunday obligation through the end of March.

Province of Kansas City (Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, Dioceses of Dodge City, Salina, Wichita): 

The Archdiocese of Kansas City is instructing its parishioners to “don’t panic” and “be informed.” Schools are staying open and Mass will be celebrated as scheduled.  

The Diocese of Wichita has dispensed all Catholics from their Sunday obligation.

Province of Los Angeles (Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Dioceses of Fresno, Monterey, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego): 

In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Mass will be celebrated as scheduled. The Archdiocese dispensed Catholics from attending Sunday Mass for the remainder of the month of March. Catholics schools in the archdiocese will be closed.

The Diocese of Orange dispensed “those who are sick or, out of legitimate concern for their health and/or the health of others wish to avoid crowded areas, from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, until further notice.”

Province of Louisville (Archdiocese of Louisville, Dioceses of Covington, Knoxville, Lexington, Memphis, Nashville, Owensboro): 

In the Archdiocese of Louisville, Masses will go on as scheduled, but those who are sick are encouraged to stay home. 

The Diocese of Lexington dispensed Catholics from their Sunday obligation for the weekend of March 14-15.

The Diocese of Memphis dispensed from their Sunday obligation Catholics over 60, those with chronic medical conditions, those with compromised immune systems, and caretakers of those who are ill.

Province of Miami (Archdiocese of Miami, Dioceses of Orlando, Palm Beach, Pensacola-Tallahassee, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Venice): 

The Archdiocese of Miami has not canceled Mass or closed schools, but has encouraged those planning on traveling abroad for spring break to make other plans. 

Bishop Gregory Parkes of St. Petersburg on March 13 dispensed all Catholics from the obligation to attend Mass.

Province of Milwaukee (Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Dioceses of Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Superior): 

Mass will continue to be celebrated in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, but all Catholics are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass until the end of March.

Mass will continue to be celebrated in the Diocese of Madison, but all Catholics are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass until further notice.

Mass will continue to be celebrated in the Diocese of Green, but all Catholics are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass until the end of March.

Province of Mobile (Archdiocese of Mobile, Dioceses of Biloxi, Birmingham, Jackson):

The Archdiocese of Mobile and the Diocese of Jackson have dispensed anyone with a serious underlying medical condition from attending Mass “for the foreseeable future.”

The Diocese of Birmingham has dispensed from their Sunday obligation Catholics with chronic medical conditions, those with compromised immune systems, those over the age of 65, and those concerned that they are sick or have been exposed from sickness.

Province of New Orleans (Archdiocese of New Orleans, Dioceses of Alexandria La., Baton Rouge, Houma-Thibodaux, Lafayette La., Lake Charles, Shreveport): 

Many archdiocesan events have been canceled or postponed in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and some fish fries are going to “take-out only” Mass will be said and schools remain open. 

Province of New York (Archdiocese of New York, Dioceses of Albany, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Ogdensburg, Rochester, Rockville Centre, Syracuse): 

Elementary schools in the Archdiocese of New York are closed. Masses will continue to be celebrated.

The teaching of the Church “has always exempted those with serious medical issues which would prohibit them from attending Mass, as well as for all people in times of general emergencies. This is especially true during this coronavirus outbreak, particularly for adults over the age of 60, people with underlying medical conditions, and family members of such individuals, who should take special care in discerning the best course of action,” the archdiocese said.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn on March 13 “dispensed the faithful from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice.” Sunday Masses will still be said publicly, but “the faithful are urged to exercise caution if they are to attend.”

The Diocese of Albany suspended the Sunday obligation for all Catholics.

The Diocese of Rochester has closed schools through the end of March.

In the Diocese of Ogdensburg, “those choosing not to attend Mass due to illness or having an underlying condition” are dispensed from the Sunday obligation.

Province of Newark (Archdiocese of Newark, Dioceses of Camden, Metuchen, Paterson, Trenton): 

Sunday Masses in the Archdiocese of Newark have been suspended. The faithful of Newark are dispensed from the obligation to attend. 

The Diocese of Metuchen has dispensed the Sunday obligation until April 4-5. “For those who prayerfully discern not to be present for the liturgy, it is important that they make a spiritual communion in some other way, such as while watching a livestream of the Mass on television, or at least to pray the rosary or the Liturgy of the Hours,” the diocese said.

From Bishop David O’Connell of Trenton: “I am granting a DISPENSATION from the OBLIGATION to attend weekend/Sunday Mass to all the Catholic faithful until further notice. Mass will still be offered in parishes for those who choose or who are able to attend.”

Province of Oklahoma City (Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Dioceses of Little Rock, Tulsa) : 

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City will not be changing Mass schedules or closing schools. 

The Diocese of Little Rock will suspend all public Masses from the weekend of March 21-22, “except for small groups at the discretion of the priest.” Churches will remain open during daylight hours with Eucharistic Adoration. 

Province of Omaha (Archdiocese of Omaha, Dioceses of Grand Island, Lincoln): 

The Archdiocese of Omaha is encouraging parishes to cancel fish fries, and those who are sick are instructed to stay home. 

Province of Philadelphia (Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Dioceses of Allentown, Altoona-Johnstown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Scranton): 

The bishops of Pennsylvania have dispensed all Catholics in the state from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has closed Catholic schools and religious education programs through the month of March

Province of Portland in Oregon (Archdiocese of Portland, Dioceses of Baker, Boise, Great Falls-Billings, Helena): 

The Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon issued a statement saying that “a general dispensation is offered to anyone else in the Archdiocese of Portland who sincerely and seriously think they might be at risk. This dispensation may be used by anyone of any age.” This dispensation will remain in effect until April 8. 

Province of St. Louis (Archdiocese of St. Louis, Dioceses of Jefferson City, Kansas City-St. Joseph, Springfield-Cape Girardeau): 

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has not suspended public Masses, but said that “parishioners who are sick or have a compromised immune system to refrain from attending Mass, school or church activities.”

Province of St. Paul and Minneapolis (Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Dioceses of Bismarck, Crookston, Duluth, Fargo, New Ulm, Rapid City, Saint Cloud, Sioux Falls, Winona): 

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis issued a statement saying “Archbishop Hebda has dispensed the faithful of this Archdiocese from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. Mass will, however, continue to be celebrated in our parishes as regularly scheduled.” 

The Diocese of New Ulm has dispensed Catholics from the obligation of attending Mass through the month of March.

The Diocese of New Ulm has dispensed Catholics from the obligation of attending Mass through April 6.

Province of San Antonio (Archdiocese of San Antonio, Dioceses of Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Laredo, Lubbock, San Angelo): 

Classes at Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of San Antonio will resume on March 16. Mass will continue to be celebrated. 

The Diocese of Dallas has suspended public Masses until March 30.

Province of San Francisco (Archdiocese of San Francisco, Dioceses of Honolulu, Las Vegas, Oakland, Reno, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Stockton): 

The Archdiocese of San Francisco will close all schools for a period of two weeks. Mass will be celebrated per usual, but those who are ill, vulnerable to disease, and those who ” are healthy but feel anxiety from fear of contracting the virus in a large public gathering” are dispensed from their Sunday obligation.

The Diocese of Salt Lake City has suspended all public Masses.

The Diocese of San Jose has suspended all public Masses.

The Diocese of Honolulu told Catholics “that if they are experiencing any signs of an illness that could be contagious, they should stay home for their own welfare and the safety of others. Although the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation is serious, staying home under these circumstances is certainly a legitimate reason to be dispensed from the obligation.”

A Catholic “who feels well but who has a reasonable fear of contracting illness can be excused from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass at the judgment of the pastor.”

Province of Santa Fe (Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Dioceses of Gallup, Las Cruces, Phoenix, and Tucson): 

All churches and schools are closed in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe until further notice. 

The Diocese of Phoenix will have regularly scheduled Mass, but the sick are encouraged to stay home. 

Bishop James Wall of Gallup “has dispensed the faithful of the Diocese of Gallup from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass … effective immediately, and until further notice.” The diocese added that “all regularly scheduled Masses will remain open to the public for those who wish to attend.” It added that “pastors of large parishes should discern the option to increase the number of celebrations of the Mass over a weekend. The purpose would be to distribute the attendance over more Masses, if this is possible. The current goal advised by New Mexico authorities is to keep the number of persons gathered under 100. Our continued worship of God and prayers are part of an effective response to the coronavirus that threatens us.”

Catholic schools in the New Mexican portion of the Diocese of Gallup will be closed for at least three weeks. Schools in Arizona are not currently affected.

Province of Seattle (Archdiocese of Seattle, Dioceses of Spokane, Yakima): 

The Archdiocese of Seattle has canceled all public Masses and closed Catholic schools. 

The Diocese of Spokane has dispensed Catholics over 60 from attending Sunday Mass until the end of March, and reminds those who are ill and their caretakers that they are not obliged to attend Mass. The dispensation “applies to those 60 and older who may be traveling in other places, and to those visiting in the Diocese of Spokane.”  Catholics who do not attend Mass “should still keep the commitment to honor the Lord’s Day and suggests that the homebound faithful reflect on Gospel text read at Mass that Sunday.”

Province of Washington (Archdiocese of Washington, Diocese of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands): 

All Catholic schools are closed and the celebration of public Masses has been suspended in the Archdiocese of Washington.


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The Catholic News Agency (CNA) has been, since 2004, one of the fastest growing Catholic news providers to the English speaking world. The Catholic News Agency takes much of its mission from its sister agency, ACI Prensa, which was founded in Lima, Peru, in 1980 by Fr. Adalbert Marie Mohm (†1986).

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