Skip to content

We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

Help Now >

Amid coronavirus, public Masses suspended in most Japanese dioceses

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

More dioceses in Japan have shut down Mass for the coming weeks in response to the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus nationwide.


By Timothy Nerozzi
3/11/2020 (4 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific


Tokyo, Japan, (CNA) - More dioceses in Japan have shut down Mass for the coming weeks in response to the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus nationwide.

The majority of Japanese dioceses have now suspended all public worship.

10 dioceses of 16 have now suspended public Masses, according to Satoh Takaharu, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan

This comes after reports and pronouncements from various individual bishops across the nation regarding temporary church closures.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan says that the bishops have not made any sweeping or mandatory prescriptions on the virus outbreak, and the matter is left to the discretion of individual diocesan bishops.

"The CBCJ is not in a position to issue such directives as the situations vary in dioceses and the dioceses are taking necessary measures accordingly," said Satoh. 
Additionally, the CBCJ went on to say that decisions on the matter are not in any way influenced by the Japanese authorities. Churches are making precautionary choices by their own judgement.

"The CBCJ is not in contact with the Japanese government to decide what to do on Masses," said Satoh.

As of March 10, 587 people in Japan have contracted coronavirus, and 10 have died.

Other religions' places of worship in Japan have also closed temporarily, including mosques. Native Japanese religions Shinto and Buddhism do not have weekly obligations of attendance and have been less impacted by the outbreak.

The Archdiocese of Osaka, led by Cardinal Thomas Aquino Manyo Maeda suspended March 13th public Masses yesterday, and is expected to introduce additional measures this week.

Dioceses that had previously implemented Mass cancellations are now extending them.

The Archdiocese of Tokyo has now cancelled public Masses through March 29th, as well as all public church gatherings besides weddings and funerals.

"The other day, it was announced that Masses all throughout Italy, including the Diocese of Rome, had been suspended. In Japan, it is not yet clear when the infections will peak," said an official update on the Archdiocese of Tokyo website posted today.

The update continues, "For events other than Masses, as much as possible kindly consider postponing or canceling them, except only for small gatherings. In case of holding such events, in addition to hand disinfection, kindly provide sufficient ventilation, keep a distance between each other, and try to finish as quickly as possible."

The announcement from the Archdiocese of Tokyo also stressed that the dispensation from Mass is not a dispensation from religious observance, and urged Catholics throughout the community to worship in private for the time being.

Face Mask with Cross BOGO 50% OFF

"Since we are not relieved from our duty to pray on Sundays, let us find time to offer our Sunday prayers, in spiritual communion with the whole Church community."

The news comes on the heels of worldwide church closures in countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including Pope Francis' own Diocese of Rome.

Shop Catholic - Buy One Get One 50% OFF

Mix and match any of these bestselling products and enjoy 50% off the second item!

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Act of Contrition PDF

Free Catholic Educational PDF Downloads and Resources

PDF educational resources for Students, Parents, and Teachers and it’s 100% FREE. How to Pray the Rosary, Hail Mary, Our Father, Saints, Prayers, Coloring Books, Novenas, Espanol and more. All FREE to download and faithful to the Magisterium. Download Now >

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.