Diocese of Brooklyn churches, which have been closed for more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will reopen for private prayer and devotion starting Tuesday, May 26.
The announcement was made on Friday, May 22 by Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. Funerals and limited celebrations of baptisms and weddings can also begin.
“It has been a challenging few months for Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens,” he said. “We know many people have eagerly been awaiting the day our churches would open. While we cannot celebrate Mass just yet, it is so important that we can now enter for prayer. It is my hope that this will give many of our faithful great comfort during this difficult time.”
There are guidelines and requirements.
Masks will be required for all who enter a church. The diocese also urges anyone who feels sick not to come to church, and entry to the church will be limited to 10 people, as per New York State guidelines. All who enter the church must maintain the six-foot social distancing regulation at all times.
Funerals, baptisms, and weddings will also be limited to 10 people, with everyone required to wear a mask. People are being asked to check with individual parishes for the specific hours their church will be open for prayer. Ushers and/or volunteers will be present to assist with social distancing.
The Diocesan Committee on Re-opening Churches is being led by former New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito.
“We are consulting with medical and health professionals to ensure the safety of all priests and parishioners who enter Brooklyn and Queens churches,” said Esposito. “In my nearly 50 years of service to the city, this is one of the hardest issues I have had to deal with. The risks are great, which is why we have to get things right the first time.”
“As we begin the process of reopening our churches, we must understand that we will not be able to resume church life as we enjoyed it before,” DiMarzio added. “There will be a series of changes designed to keep everyone healthy and safe during prayer and worship. I am confident that we will respond, as faithful people of God, to the challenges placed before us.”
Mass will continue to be streamed online and broadcast on the Diocesan cable channel, NET-TV.