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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. 

Highlights

By CNA News
3/16/2020 (1 week ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: CHURCH IN AMERICA, WASHINGTON D.C., US


Washington D.C., (CNA) - This story is developing and will be regularly updated.

Last updated: 11:01 am MT, Sunday March 15

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.

To let CNA know about closings or dispensations in your diocese, email us here. Try to include a link to official notification if you can.

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

The Archdiocese of Anchorage has suspended public Masses.

The Diocese of Juneau has suspended public Masses.

Catholics in the Diocese of Fairbanks, "if they are ill, or suspect they are ill with a contagious illness, or are concerned that they may become ill by attending Mass, are dispensed of the Sunday Mass obligation."

Province of Atlanta (Archdiocese of Atlanta, Dioceses of Savannah, Charleston, Raleigh, Charlotte):  
The Archdiocese of Atlanta has dispended all Catholic from the obligation of Sunday Mass until the end of March.

The Diocese of Savannah has dispensed all Catholics from the obligation of Sunday Mass.

The Diocese of Charleston has dispensed from the obligation of Sunday Mass those Catholics who are "at high risk for adverse health complications from COVID-19," and those who are uncomfortable attending Mass.

The Diocese of Charlotte has suspended public Masses in all churches which seat more than 100 people, and dispensed all Catholics from their Sunday obligation.

All public "weekend Masses in the Diocese of Raleigh are suspended until further notice."

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

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has suspended public Masses until further notice.

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.

The Dioceses of Wilmington has dispensed from their Sunday obligation all Catholics until further notice.

Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond, "until further notice ... has granted a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days to the following persons most susceptible to the effects of the Coronavirus/COVID-19: those 60 years of age or older; those with chronic illness; and those with immune system deficiencies. The dispensation is also extended to those caring for people who are presently ill, who assist those in the three groups indicated above, and individuals with concerns 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 Manchester and Worcester will have Mass as normally scheduled, but the sick and those caring for the sick are dispensed from their Sunday obligation and instructed to stay home.

The Diocese of Fall River dispensed Catholics from their Sunday obligation for the weekend of March 14-15. It will subsequently reevaluate.

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

The Diocese of Springfield, Mass., has suspended public Masses.

The Diocese of Portland in Maine dispensed from their Sunday obligation those "who are comprised because of age, illness, or other complicating health issues."

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 Springfield has dispensed all Catholics from their Sunday obligation.

The Diocese of Rockford has suspended from their Sunday obligation those Catholics with chronic medical conditions, those over 60, those who are ill or not feeling well, and those uncomfortable in large gatherings.

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

The Diocese of Peoria has suspended all public liturgies.

In the Diocese of Belleville, "anyone who is ill is automatically dispensed from the obligation to participate in the Sunday Eucharist."

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.

The Diocese of Cheyenne has dispensed from their Sunday obligation those who are sick, those who have chronic health problems, and those over 60.

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 becelebrated for those who are able to participate."

The Diocese of Grand Rapids has suspened public Masses, and closed Catholic schools, through the month of March.

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

The Diocese of Des Moines has canceled all public Masses scheduled for March 15, and dispensed all Catholics of their Sunday obligation.

The Diocese of Davenport has dispensed from their Sunday obligation those who are sick, chronically ill, not feeling well, elderly, or immune-compromised, and their caretakers.

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."

In the Diocese of Victoria, Catholics uncomfortable attending Mass because of coronavirus are dispensed from the Sunday obligation.

The Diocese of Austin dispensed all Catholics who are concerned about their health or the health of others from their Sunday obligation.

In the Diocese of Tyler, those who are over 60, chronically ill, immune-compromised, caretakers, or uncomfortable in large groups during the pandemic are excused from their Sunday obligation.

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

The Archdiocese of Hartford has dispensed Catholics of their Sunday obligation.

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.

The Diocese of Gary has dispensed Catholics of their Sunday obligation.

In the Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana, all Catholics are dispensed from their Sunday obligation through the month of March.

The Diocese of Evansville has dispensed Catholics of their Sunday obligation, and closed schools until April 6.

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

The Archdiocese of Kansas City has dispensed all Catholics from their Sunday obligation.

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

The Diocese of Dodge City 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."

The Diocese of San Bernardino has dispensed all Catholics of their Sunday obligation.

The Diocese of San Diego will suspend all public Masses after March 15.

The Diocese of Fresno has suspended public Masses.

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.

The Diocese of Nashville dispensed from their Sunday obligation Catholics who are sick or symptomatic of sickness, those vulnerable to viral infection, and any others who judge themselves to be at risk because of the global health pandemic.

The Diocese of Owensbro dispensed the Sunday obligation for all Catholics.

In the Diocese of Knoxville, all Catholics are dispensed from their Sunday obligation.

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

The Archdiocese of Miami has on March 13 dispensed all Catholics from the obligation to attend Mass.

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

Bishop Franke Dewane of Venice in Florida on March 13 said that "those who are sick and those providing care for them; those withchronic medical conditions or severely compromised immune systems; those whose age or frailty causes them to be at greater risk; those that have been exposed to the coronavirus; and those who, because of anxiety, may decide not to attend Mass, are dispensed from the obligation. Until further notice, this dispensation shall remain valid."

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 Bay, but all Catholics are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass until the end of March.

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

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

In the Archdiocese of Mobile, those who "have concern for your own health or that of your loved ones, are granted dispensation from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass."

The Diocese of Jackson has dispensed all Catholics from attending Mass "until further notice."

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): 

Catholics in the Archdiocese of New Orleans are dispensed from their Sunday obligation until April 13, the day after Easter.

Catholics in the Diocese of Baton Rouge are dispensed from their Sunday obligation until April 13, the day after Easter.

The Diocese of Alexandria dispensed the Sunday obligation for all Catholics.

The Diocese of Lafayette, La., has dispensed the Sunday obligation for all Catholics.

The Diocese of Lake Charles has dispensed from their Sunday obligation Catholics with serious medical issues, those who are ill, have a compromised immune system, or are advanced in age.

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The Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux has dispensed the Sunday obligation for all Catholics.

The Diocese of Shreveport has suspended all public Masses.

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

The Archdiocese of New York announced March 14 that "all Masses in the Archdiocese of New York will be canceled beginning this weekend, March 14-15." Churches will remain open for private prayer. Elementary schools in the archdiocese of New York are closed.

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 dispensed the Sunday obligation for all Catholics.

The Diocese of Buffalo dispensed the Sunday obligation for all Catholics.

The Diocese of Syracuse dispensed the Sunday obligation for all Catholics.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre dispensed all Catholics from the obligation to attend Mass for the month of March.

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."

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

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

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

In the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City "parishioners who are elderly, those in weakened health conditions, parishioners who are ill or have symptoms of illness, and those who may have been exposed to the Coronavirus are dispensed from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass."

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. 

Bishop David Konderla of Tulsa said March 13 that "those who are sick with a contagious disease or caring for someone who is sick are dispensed from their obligation to attend Mass. In addition, those who feel vulnerable to infections due to age, illnesses, or otherreasonable factors may abstain from public participation in the Mass."

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

The Archdiocese of Omaha on March 13 dispensed all Catholics from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

The Diocese of Lincoln on March 13 dispensed all Catholics from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

The Diocese of Grand Island on March 13 dispensed all Catholics from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

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.  The archdiocese has closed all Catholic schools.

The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings has said that "Catholics have a moral obligation to stay home when sick."

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 dispensed all Catholics from their Sunday obligation through the month of March.

In the Diocese of Jefferson City, Catholics over 60, ill, or immuno-compromised are dispensed from their Sunday obligation.

In the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Catholics concerned about being exposed to coronavirus at Mass, and those who think they may have been exposed or who live with someone who may have been exposed, are dispensed from the Sunday obligation.

"A general dispensation is offered to anyone in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau who does not want to take the risk of attending Mass, regardless of age."

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 Winona-Rochester has dispensed Catholics from the obligation of attending Mass through April 6.

The Diocese of St. Cloud has dispensed Catholics from the obligation of attending Mass.

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

In the Archdiocese of San Antonio public Masses are suspended.

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

In the Diocese of Fort Worth, Catholics who are sick, symptomatic, or vulnerable to illness are dispensed from their Sunday obligation, along with their caretakers. Pastors are instructed to ensure Mass attendance does not exceed 250 people, and to add additional Masses if needed.

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 Oakland has dispensed all Catholics from the obligation of attending Mass.

The Diocese of Santa Rosa has dispensed all Catholics from the obligation of attending Mass.

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 Hawaii 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."

The Diocese of Las Vegas has dispensed Catholics from the obligation of attending Mass through the month of March.

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, elderly, and at risk are dispensed from their Sunday obligation and 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 all Catholics from their Sunday obligation.

In the Diocese of Yakima, public Masses have been suspended.

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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