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Statements | Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

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MIAMI | Below is a list of archdiocesan updates regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19). This list will be continually updated.

May 18 update:

Archbishop Wenski's office

Archbishop Thomas Wenski has told pastors in Miami-Dade and Broward counties that they can resume public Masses beginning May 26, 2020 — the Tuesday after Memorial Day. The first Sunday Masses with congregations will be celebrated Pentecost Sunday, the weekend of May 30-31.

There will be some restrictions for Mass-goers, however (see update for May 15, below), so livestream Masses will continue for the foreseeable future. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect “indefinitely,” the archbishop wrote in a letter to parishioners dated May 18, 2020.

Those who are elderly, sick, or have underlying conditions that put them at high risk for complications from the coronavirus, as well as their caregivers, are urged to continue taking part in the Mass from the safety of their homes. The archbishop said they should “contact the parish rectory and arrange for the sacraments to be brought to them.” Read the story here.

May 15 update:

Archbishop Wenski's office

Archbishop Thomas Wenski announced that the five parishes in the Florida Keys (Monroe County) — St. Justin Martyr, Key Largo; San Pedro, Tavernier; San Pablo, Marathon; St. Peter, Big Pine Key; and the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Key West — can resume celebrating Masses with a congregation on Monday, May 18, 2020, with the following restrictions:

  • All worshipers will need to wear face masks and use hand sanitizers as needed.
  • Capacity in the churches is based on social distancing of six feet per person/family or approximately 25-30% of normal capacity. 
  • People will be asked to follow directions for seating as well as for entry and egress from the church building.
  • People will not hold hands during recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, nor will they exchange the Sign of Peace.
  • Hymnals and missalettes will not be provided (though people can bring their own or access scripture readings by an app).

Other parish activities and meetings (other than virtual meetings) remain suspended. Parishioners should contact their parish for more detailed information.

The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect until further notice. Anyone who is sick is asked to stay home. The frail elderly or those who are vulnerable because of an underlying condition, and their caretakers, also are encouraged to stay home and continue to follow Sunday Masses that are livestreamed from their parish or other parishes as listed on the archdiocesan website.

The archbishop noted that resumption of public Masses in Miami-Dade and Broward counties will be announced later.

April 17 update:

From Department of Schools

Schools Superintendent Kim Pryzbylski informed Catholic school parents today that archdiocesan schools “will continue the virtual learning” through the end of the academic year, June 3, 2020. “Please note that we are following the state updates daily. If things change, you will be notified immediately,” Pryzbylski wrote. Click here to read the letter.

April 3 update:

From Catholic Cemeteries

Adhering to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Shelter in Place Order, the offices of both Catholic Cemeteries — Our Lady of Mercy in Doral and Our Lady Queen of Heaven in North Lauderdale — will be closed to the public beginning this Saturday, April 4, except for burial arrangements. Families and funeral homes must call in advance to schedule an appointment to meet with a counselor. For any other matters, call the cemetery offices for assistance. The flower shop also remains closed until further notice. 

“With the concentrated effort of all of us, this pandemic will be over and we will be able to return to normal operations,” said Mary Jo Frick, executive director of Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Miami. “We continue to pray for our families and thank everyone for helping us maintain compliance with shelter and curfew orders.”

April 1 update:

From Archbishop Thomas Wenski

Archbishop Thomas Wenski has urged archdiocesan priests to refrain from offering “drive through” palms, confessions or holy Communion or “any similar type of activity” that would encourage people to leave their homes for at least the next two weeks.

The archbishop sent his letter April 1, 2020, the same day that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Read more here.

The archbishop also sent another letter to the faithful, asking that, on Palm Sunday, they place a palm frond on their door. “This would help us, despite the social distancing, to be connected as we enter into the holiest of weeks. We may be physically isolated, but not separated. We are united as the body of Christ.”

He also reiterated the need for parishioners to “continue your weekly offertory support” through the parish website or through the Universal Online Offertory Page created by the archdiocesan Development Office. Read his letter here.

March 23 updates:

From the Archdiocesan Office of Development

The office has created two websites in response to the suspension of Masses and closure of businesses caused by the coronavirus. On one website — Universal Online Offertory Page — parishioners can continue to support their churches through online giving; on the other —Coronavirus Emergency Fund — Catholics can assist those suffering economic hardship. A letter from Archbishop Thomas Wenski explains the need for both and exhorts all the faithful who are able to do so to contribute as generously as possible.  

March 20 updates:

From Catholic Cemeteries

As of March 18, Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Miami and Our Lady Queen of Heaven Cemetery in North Lauderdale are closed for visitation. Families wishing to make arrangements for burials should call ahead and limit to two the number of persons coming to do so. No funeral Masses or committal services will be held in the chapels unless the family has a licensed location inside one of the buildings.  All committal services will be graveside, with no more than 10 family members in attendance.  Memorial Masses and anniversary services at the cemeteries, in any buildings, also are suspended until further notice. Families having the committal service graveside or if licensed, in a building, who wish to have an anniversary service in the future when the crisis has been resolved, will be accommodated. Read the full statement here.

From Catholic Legal Services

Catholic Legal Services remains fully operational but the staff is working remotely, and face-to-face meetings with clients are restricted. People seeking appointments must do so online, at or by calling 305-373-1073 and dialing 0 for the operator. For more information, and links to the offices of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as well as the Office of Immigration Review, click here.

From St. John Bosco Clinic

Effective March 16, St. John Bosco Clinic is not open for registration of new patients or renewal of existing patients, until further notice. Current, registered clinic patients with pre-scheduled appointments will be contacted by a clinic healthcare provider. Read more here. 

March 18 update:

Effective today, March 18, Archbishop Thomas Wenski suspended all regularly scheduled celebrations of Masses or other liturgical events in parish churches and other public sanctuaries. Also, any parish or ministry events — e.g. prayer groups, Bible studies, etc. — are also suspended or postponed.

Funerals, or other events that perhaps cannot be postponed — e.g. baptisms or weddings — may be celebrated with immediate family members only who are not sick and are not advised by their doctors to self-isolate. Appropriate social distancing should be observed.

While these gatherings of the faithful are suspended, the parishes remain "open." Read more here.

March 17 updates:

For those who are anxious about attending Mass in person, there are options for doing so virtually. A number of archdiocesan churches livestream their Masses, that is, make them available for viewing via the internet. Daily Masses also are broadcast on the EWTN channel - check your cable listings; and on the internet. Click on the image above for a list with the links. This list will be updated as we hear from more churches.

From archdiocesan schools

The Easter break in archdiocesan schools has been changed to a spring break, which will run from March 23-27. For the observance of Easter, schools will be closed Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Monday, April 9, 10 and 13.

March 13 updates:

From Archbishop Thomas Wenski

Our parishes will celebrate the Lord's Day this weekend and during the week for those who do wish to participate in the Eucharistic celebration, the source and summit of our Christian life. We pray that we will be able to continue to do so; but we will be guided by prudence and the best counsel of our civil authorities and medical professionals. If circumstances dictate in coming days that Masses be suspended the Archdiocese will make a timely announcement to that effect.

Archdiocese parochial schools and high schools will close on Tuesday, March 17th. (In order to provide parents the opportunity to arrange childcare and personal schedules, Catholic schools will be open on Monday, March 16.) Religious education programs (CCD) are also suspended. Retreats and other parish activities will be cancelled or postponed in an effort to increase "social distancing," in order to mitigate exposure.

"I continue to urge prudence. Those who are sick or are tending to the sick should not come to Mass this weekend. Those who have anxiety, or are caregivers to the elderly or young children, may decide not to attend Mass. Given these extraordinary circumstances, I dispense the faithful of the Archdiocese of Miami from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass," Archbishop Thomas Wenski said.

As we prepare to celebrate the Third Sunday of our Lenten Season, our nation — and, indeed, our world — is facing unprecedented threat because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. We hold in prayer all those infected with the virus, their families and loved ones. We pray for the repose of the souls of those who have died. As a people of faith, we trust in the power of prayer and in the providence of our loving God; as a people of hope, we know that God will never abandon us in our need; and as a people of charity, we, despite our own fears and anxieties, stand in solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters infected or affected by this pandemic.

Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
he who has God
nothing lacks:
God alone suffices.
(St. Teresa de Avila)

From archdiocesan schools

Archdiocesan schools will close on Tuesday, March 17, until further notice in an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. In order to give parents the opportunity to arrange childcare and personal schedules, schools will be open on Monday, March 16. 

Each school will instruct parents about online assignments and lessons.

During this time, schools will undergo a thorough cleaning procedure to meet suggested guidelines.

Archdiocese of Miami schools will continue to monitor the situation and will update parents as we receive information.

March 11 update:

Archdiocesan schools update

As the global COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak rapidly evolves and expands, the schools in the Archdiocese of Miami will continue to follow the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Florida Department of Health and any directives issued by Miami-Dade, Broward or Monroe counties on the most effective prevention measures including any directives to adjust schedules or school closing.

We are aware that many of you have travel plans for spring break. However, the CDC has issued extensive travel advisories for areas experiencing wider community spread of the virus. As of March 3, 2020, China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran are listed at Warning Level 3; Japan is at Alert Level 2; and Hong Kong is at Watch Level 1. Please keep in mind that travel notices are changing almost daily and additional countries may be added to the list.

There is special guidance for cruises. The CDC typically posts travel health notices for countries and other international destinations, not conveyances, such as ships, airplanes, or trains. Because of the unusual nature of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the US government is advising US travelers to defer cruise ship travel. If you take a cruise in the next few weeks, you will be at Warning Level 3. This will be a 14-day self-quarantine and may report to school only if symptom free after the 14-day period.

If you are traveling outside the US for spring break, you are encouraged to please check the most current CDC travel health notices by visiting The CDC strongly recommends that travel to countries at an Alert Level 2 or Warning Level 3 be put on hold for the foreseeable future. Return to the US from all or most of these countries will require a mandatory self-quarantine for up to 14 days before your child could return to school.

The Archdiocese of Miami will be following the guidance below as provided by the CDC if someone in your household is travelling/has traveled to areas with travel advisories due to the COVID-19.

Travel Advisory: Level Associated Action

  • Warning Level 3: Students must be self-quarantined at home for 14 days and may report to school only if symptom free after the 14-day period.
  • Alert Level 2: It is strongly suggested that students self-quarantine at home for 14 days and return to school only if symptom free after the quarantine.
  • Watch Level 1: Students are encouraged to self-quarantine at home for 14 days upon their return.

If you recently traveled or have plans to visit any Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 countries in the foreseeable future, you are requested to advise your principal immediately via email. Please make sure to include the dates and locations(s) or travel. If travel to these areas is critical or essential, please advise your principal and make arrangements for school assignments to be completed by your child upon the return to the US during the quarantine period.

The health and safety of our students, staff and school-community is our paramount concern. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact, Kim Pryzbylski, Superintendent of Schools, 305-762-1078.

Thank you for your help in this ongoing situation.

March 2 update:

The Archdiocese of Miami offers the following guidelines parishes can employ to help prevent the spread of contagion. The same precautions taken for the flu are also to be employed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Because we now have two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state of Florida, the following practices are suggested.

  • Temporary suspension of the use of minor chalices for the distribution of the Precious Blood in those parishes where Communion is normally offered under both species.
  • Temporary suspension of the communal Sign of Peace (kissing or shaking of hands).
  • Not to hold hands during the recitation/chanting of the Our Father.
  • Temporary suspension of the greeting before Mass (if your parish has this practice).
  • Emptying the holy water fonts at the church doors.
  • Use of anti-bacterial soap by the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion before and after distribution of the Host.
  • Reminding parishioners that if they feel unwell or have flu like symptoms they are encouraged to stay home.
  • The celebrant is to use discretion if he shakes hands while greeting parishioners before or after the Mass.

As the distribution of Holy Communion involves contact with both the mouth and hands, any Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion who feels uncomfortable distributing Communion should be allowed to temporarily step down from ministry.

It is still left to the discretion of the communicant how they wish to receive the Host.

If circumstances should change in the coming days and weeks that require a different course of action, further information or measures will be forthcoming.

Comments from readers

Patricia Lightbourn - 03/20/2020 02:34 PM
I view of recent developments and the ongoing spread of COVID19 virus in our community, I thank our Catholic Diocese for trying to keep us safe. It is great when we can worship together as a community, but it is also not always possible to do so. In times of war and religious persecution the faithful had to worship in secret to avoid certain death. We have to survive this so we can carry on God’s mission when it is over. Faith Direct is available so we don’t have to neglect our pledges to the church, that will be used to help those in greatest need. I urge everyone to practice your faith at home with your families. Study your daily readings and pray for a positive outcome. This is no time to criticize our church, it’s time to support each other and do our best. We will again be able to receive the communion and this time will make us all appreciate being able to receive it even more. Peace and Love!
J.R. Orsoni - 03/19/2020 10:50 AM
Seems to me that Satan is ecstatic about masses being cancelled... St. Pio said," “It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do so without the Holy Mass.” – It's sad and unfortunate that our bishop has to error on the side of Satan. There is much that can be done: more masses, limit capacity, sanitize everything, make collections online to avoid touching, no peace sign, no "in the hand", social distancing, and for those not able televise masses. There is much more you can do to follow the teachings of Christ. "DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME" He didn't say to do it when convenient or not to do it because it's inconvenient. Respectfully
Geraldo Gustavo - 03/19/2020 02:52 AM
God help us for we are a WEAK church! How unlike the 200 years of exemplary Catholic examples before us. Are we going to stop Masses every flu season as well? This is a COMPLETE DISGRACE AND THE SO CALLED LEADERS SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES FOR BEING WEAK PAWNS OF THE DEVIL. Let's begin to listen to secular authorities because it's clear that Catholics do not care any longer.
Susan - 03/18/2020 01:41 PM
This is the time to turn more to the Lord, to pray, and to get closer to Him. The Lord is with us!!
Marlene - 03/16/2020 07:05 AM
I completely agree with Michael: I am very dismayed that receiving the Eucharist on the tongue has not been temporarily discontinued. I am so fearful that someone ahead of me has received on the tongue. That is so unsanitary and breeds contagion. These communicates have another choice and my only choice is to not receive the Eucharist. Please be reasonable.
Michaele Durant - 03/14/2020 11:04 AM
The information is very helpful . Thank you. I am very dismayed that receiving the Eucharist on the tongue has not been temporarily discontinued. I am so fearful that someone ahead of me has received on the tongue. That is so unsanitary and breeds contagion. These communicates have another choice and my only choice is to not receive the Eucharist. Please be reasonable. The Masses at my church surpass the 250 gathering limit. Please take heed.
Ana Rodriguez-Soto - 03/13/2020 09:51 PM
Hi, Lily Due to the extraordinary circumstances caused by this outbreak of coronavirus, Archbishop Wenski has dispensed Catholics from the obligation to attend Mass. See above: "Those who are sick or are tending to the sick should not come to Mass this weekend. Those who have anxiety, or are caregivers to the elderly or young children, may decide not to attend Mass." You and your mother may still take part in Mass by watching it on this website ( beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday and all day Sunday; or on our YouTube channel beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday and all day Sunday.
Lily - 03/13/2020 09:08 PM
Hello. I'd like to know if my mom who is 80 years old should be attending Mass. She has high blood pressure and I am scared that she might get the virus. Please let me know. Thank you.
Gustavo - 03/13/2020 01:52 PM
Bien dicho! Lidia.
Patricio Dekgado - 03/13/2020 10:37 AM
Buenos días. Les escribo por mi preocupación ante las precauciones que debemos tener respecto al corona virus Mi hijo tiene pautado hacer la primera comunión mañana. Será una gran cantidad de personas reunidas en la iglesia, un sitio cerrado. Con una buena cantidad de gente. Y el tema de la comunión es preocupante por la manipulación y contacto durante el sagrado evento Además de esto. Mi esposa es sobreviviente de cancer y mi hija mayor acaba de salir del hospital con una infección severa y sus sistemas inmunológicos no están al 100%. Pregunto : los eventos de la sagrada misa, y comuniones se llevarán a cabo ? No serán pospuestos ? Me parece un riesgo muy alto llevarlos a cabo y no ser flexibles al respecto. Agradecería su inmediata respuesta debido a que es el día de mañana y no ha habido ningún nuevo anuncio sobre el tema de las restricciones a ir a la iglesia. Cómo si está sucediendo en otras partes
LIDIA RAMIREZ - 03/13/2020 12:41 AM
Hola por favor la Arquidiócesis deberia aclarar bien en todas sus parroquias el punto de que cada comulgante tenga la opcion de tomar la Comunion de la manera que su conciencia cristiana le dicte,al no ser respetado esto muchos Catolicos nos hemos sentidos ofendidos porque estamos seguros que nuestras manos estan mas expuestas a ser contaminadas con el corona virus ya que tocamos todo con ellas desde que entramos a cada Iglesia,solo para entrar tenemos que tocar las puertas ,los asientos ,los libros ,las canastas o bolsas donde se recoje la ofrenda en fin todo y no nos damos cuenta de muchas cosas mas.Por favor respeten nuentro derecho de mantener nuestras almas libres de culpas cuando somos obligados a tocar a Dios con nuestras manos que no han sido consagradas para hacerlo.Como muchos feligreses pensamos LA COMUNION DE RODILLAS Y EN LA BOCA,y si por alguna casualidad de la vida nos toca morir por esto nuestras ultimas palabras seran : VIVA CRISTO REY. Dios se apiade de nuestras almas .
Gustavo - 03/11/2020 12:43 PM
The Wuhan Virus is causing spiritual calamity among many of the faithful in the Archdiocese. This weekend I had a poor woman come up to me at Mass and ask me if it was OK to be at Church and that she was advised not to go out. I tried to assure her that it was fine and to simply use common sense, good hygiene, etc. Remember that seasonal flu kills far more people a year than the Wuhan Virus. And to my knowledge, there have been no infestations or deaths in Miami-Dade County. While I’m not trying to downplay the virus the hysteria surrounding it is a bit much. Many in this Country are weaponizing the virus for political gain. It is good to know that the administration banned incoming flights from China in late January. If not, the situation might have been much worse. See Italy were Prime Minister Salvini tried to quarantine and stop incoming flights from China and was dismissed as a racist and a fascist. Keep the faith. Learn what the Church did in a previous time of pestilence. --Pax Christi

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