BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Cardinal Sean O'Malley has suspended all daily and Sunday Mass services in the Boston Archdiocese due to coronavirus concerns beginning Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.
The cardinal has also issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for Catholics in the Boston Archdiocese.
"This decision to temporarily suspend the daily and Sunday Mass is motivated by an abundance of caution and concern for those most vulnerable and the need to do our part to help limit and mitigate the spread of the illness," O'Malley said in a statement.
O'Malley encouraged Catholics to still take part in Mass celebrations by watching them on CatholicTV. You can view the masses at catholictv.org.
The Archdiocese said that baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals may continue, but asked that only immediate family members attend.
“Though these are challenging times for our parishes and all members of our communities, is important that we not forget the importance of care and concern for those who are most vulnerable, including the poor, our senior citizens and people who are medically compromised," O'Malley said. "I urge those who can do so to maintain the support for their parish during these difficult days in order to sustain the ministries and outreach services for parishioners and those most in need. We entrust the Church to the intercession of our Blessed Mother as we pray for the return to full celebration of the sacraments and community prayer as soon as possible."
The news came hours after Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued an order prohibiting all gatherings of over 250 people Friday—an order that specifically applied to, among other things, "faith-based gatherings."
In addition to the news about Mass, the Archdiocese of Boston announced that parish schools and Archdiocesan elementary and high schools will be closed for two weeks, from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 27. After that, the Archdiocese will determine whether or not the closing period needs to be extended further.
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