Bishop says Sunday mass optional for Catholics in coronavirus crisis

BOROUGHWIDE – You can go to Sunday mass if you want to, but you don’t have to.

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio announced Friday that he has dispensed with the obligation to attend Sunday mass to protect Catholics during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bishop DiMarzio’s order is in effect until further notice, according to the Diocese of Brooklyn, which covers churches in Brooklyn and Queens.

Sunday masses will be celebrated

Catholics urged to exercise caution if they attend.

The Diocese of Brooklyn will follow New York State regulations limiting large public gatherings to less than 500 people, officials said.

Church goers should take the necessary precautions like remain at a distance from others and receive Holy Communion in the hand, rather than on the tongue.

The Diocese has suspended wine distribution and as well as the traditional handshake of peace. Holy water fonts will likely to be empty in churches as a precaution.

With Catholic Sunday mass optional, those who do not attend can watch it in television on NET-TV.

TV Mass schedule

· Saturday – 6 pm Vigil pre-recorded from Immaculate Conception Church in Jamaica (English).

· Sunday – 11 am Live from St. James Cathedral in Downtown Brooklyn (English).

· Sunday – 1:30 pm Pre-recorded from Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights (Spanish).

Events Canceled

As well as Catholics Sunday mass being optional, Parish authorities have also canceled all parish religious education, Catholic Youth activities, faith formation sessions and most other meetings.

Schools Closed

The diocese is closing its schools for a week.

All Catholic academies and schools will be closed from Monday, March 16, to Friday, March 20 according to Superintendent of Schools Thomas Chadzutko.

“Teachers will use Monday as a professional day to develop their distance learning plans.

The Schools Office anticipates that on Tuesday, students of the Diocese of Brooklyn Catholic schools and academies will have access to online learning,” Chadzutko said.

There are 76 academies and schools in the diocese with more than 22,000 students.

“For families who do not have access to online learning we have directed all academies to utilize alternative instructional processes,” he added.

School officials said that the decision to close was made after consultation with city and state agencies.

As of Friday, there were no confirmed coronavirus cases in schools in the diocese.

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