MINNEAPOLIS — Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda is suspending all masses and congregational gatherings for the next two weeks in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter sent from the Archbishop, state officials have recommended that religious officials suspend all events that involve large crowds.
Archbishop Hebda goes on to say:
In light of that advice, after consulting with the Presbyteral Council and College of Consultors, and having learned that an active parish priest in another U.S. diocese has tested positive for the virus – unknowingly putting his parish at risk prior to the manifestation of any symptoms – I have made the difficult decision to suspend all regularly scheduled public celebrations of Mass in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, effective immediately. Given both the moral impossibility of attending Mass, as well as the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass that was extended to the faithful of the Archdiocese last week, please rest assured that the missing of Mass in these conditions should not weigh on your conscience.
The letter went on to say that there will be "limited exceptions," including weddings and funerals, provided they comply with the directives that will be issued in a memorandum to clergy of the Archdiocese.
Daily masses will be available remotely at archspm.org/covid19 and parishes will continue to host modified confessions that adhere to the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control.
"It pains my heart to have to make this decision since I know how many of you deeply love the Mass as I do," said Archbishop Hebda in the letter. "This decision will be re-evaluated in two weeks’ time in light of any local developments and the latest advice of civil authorities and experts."
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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
More information on the coronavirus:
- Facts not fear: What the Midwest should know about coronavirus
- Current number of presumptive coronavirus cases in Minnesota and Wisconsin
- Coronavirus-related cancellations, postponements and impacts in the Twin Cities
- Here are the common symptoms of coronavirus
- What are the 'underlying conditions' that make coronavirus more serious?