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Archdiocese of Miami suspends Masses and liturgical events until further notice

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MIAMI | In cooperation with efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Archdiocese of Miami announces the suspension, effective today, March 18, of 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.” Priests who are otherwise not impeded are expected to celebrate daily Mass for the intentions of the faithful albeit without their presence. Also, priests and other parish staff who are not sick or otherwise advised to self-isolate, while exercising prudence and observing social distancing, will be available to the faithful at the parish offices.

While there will be priests who need to self-isolate because of age, underlying physical condition, or illness, parishioners should be able to communicate with a priest, deacon or available staff by phone or by email. If a priest is not able to respond to a pastoral need (e.g. a sick call, request for confession, etc.) because of illness, age or underlying health condition, he or a member of his staff will assist the parishioner in locating a priest who can. Priests will respond to calls from a hospital or other health facility and will cooperate with that hospital or facility by following proper protocols as required (wearing of masks, gloves, protective clothing, etc.)

Parishes are encouraged to “livestream,” where possible, Masses that priests celebrate without a congregation. Also, priests are encouraged to post in print form and/or by video on the parish website or parish social media platform their homilies and other devotions (e.g. the rosary). To maintain communication with parishioners, churches should continue to publish on their website a weekly bulletin.

“These efforts will enable the faithful to continue to remain close to the Lord and the Church in this challenging time, while protecting one another and the community against COVID-19,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski.

The archdiocesan website will list parishes and links that livestream Masses and other devotions and will update the list as needed. Radio Paz, the Archdiocese of Miami’s Catholic radio station, will continue to broadcast 24/7 in Spanish at 830 AM. Relevant Radio, available at 880 AM and 1080 AM, provides Catholic programing in English also 24/7. A locally produced Haitian Creole program is also presented on Relevant Radio on Saturdays at 2 p.m.

Comments from readers

Loren R. Price - 03/22/2020 11:24 PM
Is it really in the best interests of employees of churches to keep offices open? Some employees have children who are not in school or may live with elderly. If they need to stay home they should be allowed to with pay. In fact to stop the spread of the virus employees should stay home. They should not lose their job either. With today's technology people can call or email for church business and employees work remotely. Something to consider. I respectfully write this with good intentions. God bless everyone and I pray that everyone stays safe and healthy.
Sandra Sedano - 03/22/2020 09:28 AM
Muchas gracias Arzobispo Wensky por su atinada decisión de suspender las Misas a tiempo para evitar la propagación de este virus. Es doloroso para nosotros no poder recibir el Cuerpo y Sangre de Nuestro Señor diariamente, pero en obediencia debemos actuar por precaución y protección para los que estén a nuestro alrededor. No pensemos sólo en nosotros mismos, pensemos en el otro que puede estar más débil o quizás no presentar síntomas y transmitirlo a otros más vulnerables. Les exhortó a seguir la Santa Misa en los diferentes canales de nuestras Parroquias o en el Link que envía nuestro Arzobispo. Ofrezcamos este sacrificio y mortificacion uniéndonos al sacrificio de nuestro Señor en la Cruz. Ha estado profetizado este momento y debemos estar en paz, preparados y en oración. Haciendo actos de reparacion. Quisiera dar las gracias a nuestros Sacerdotes en Saint Gregory The Great Fr. Davis, Fr. Lopez, Fr. Eliseus, fr. Phan por que con dolor de no poder celebrar las misas con los feligreses en el templo, las están celebrando y transmitiendo en línea para que podamos unirnos en un solo espíritu. Gracias por arriesgar sus vidas también ayer sabado y hoy Domigo para regalarnos el Sacramento de la reconciliación y poder comulgar espiritualmente en gracia y con corazón limpio. Procuramos todos mantenernos en ese estado de gracia, vigilando nuestras acciones, pensamientos, palabras. Siempre En espíritu de oración y recogimiento en esta Cuaresma. Que la paz de nuestro Señor este con ustedes.
Cristina Pacini - 03/21/2020 06:24 PM
Saint Bonifacio, Gracias Padres Fernando, Diego e Ivan, por guiarnos diariamente. Estamos agradecidas por su dedicación y esfuerzo en nuestra parroquia. Le pido al Señor los Bendigasy les de fuerza y dedicación para continuar esta obra en San Bonifacio.
Mary L Palmese - 03/21/2020 06:19 PM
I respect the fact people in authority want to make the best decision possible to help this crisis, but we Catholics should not analyze spiritual matters based on wordly parameters. No one gets sick or dies without God's intervention (as Mother Angelica used to say: He ordains something or He permits it!), and to act as though biological science has a mandate out of the control of Almighty God is both blasphemous and morally wrong! I believe it would have been infinitely wiser to suspend the 'obligation' to attend Sunday Mass while still allowing parishoners who are healthy and courageous to attend Mass. But this narrow minded understanding of God's sphere of influence is a disgrace to the Catholic Hierarchy and to all those who contributed to the shutter of all Masses and Spiritual exercises. WE needed MORE Masses and spiritual exercises attended by ALL Catholics, not less! May God lift the cloud of ignorance over His dear Church! Mother of God and all Holy Angels and Saints, help us!
Gustavo - 03/20/2020 11:33 AM
Well said Barbara. It has also exposed the insanity of the open borders crowd including the vast majority of the USCCB and the Vatican. The irony of it all is that these open borders cheerleaders are now closing there own borders(see the European Union ,and Canada). And our prelates have barricaded themselves behind walls depriving the faithful of the sacraments. This is a time when we need as many masses as possible. The Lord the doctor of our soul awaits for us to cure us of our spiritual and physical sickness.
Barbara Zambrano - 03/20/2020 09:18 AM
Via https://newdailycompass.com/en/the-virus-has-exposed-the-individualist-lie-we-cannot-deprive-ourselves-of-the-mass “The pandemic has brought to light the precariousness of the human being and exposed the individualist lie, which has favored the breaking of bonds with the family, with tradition and with God.” The Spanish bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla explained to The Daily Compass why he has decided not to suspend Masses with the faithful: “The Holy Mass is heaven on earth, and without it man loses his soul.” The coronavirus is a blow for “the pride of globalism and our technocratic society,” but also for the Church that now “ought to turn to the decisive questions of human salvation.”
Dr Joan DiGregorio - 03/20/2020 12:19 AM
imagejpeg_0.jpg imagejpeg_1.jpg imagejpeg_2.jpg Dear Archbishop, Please view these Instagram photos above from St Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church, showing some alternatives to suspension of Sacraments. Also I did write to you in response to your announcement of suspension yesterday. My response was polite and considerate despite having very serious concerns regarding the suspension. It was sent at approximately 5 pm EST 3/18/20. Today I read many responses to your announcement many not terribly polite or considerate of you. I wonder why this has occurred- I do beg you to allow some viable ways to provide Holy Eucharist, Confession and Adoration to our Archdiocese. I beg you with the greatest sincerity and humility. God keep you - Dr Joan DiGregorio
Pieter - 03/19/2020 12:05 PM
We can watch “church” on tv just like the Protestants do. The Catholic Church is continuing to lose its identity and influence.
Juan A. Alvarez - 03/19/2020 12:03 PM
This communication does not mention if confession will continue to be offered. Also I fail to understand why arrangements cannot be made to offer Holy Communion without Mass to whomever wants to receive. Also, I disagree with some postings here...If you are a high risk person, then don't go to Mass, instead of being content that nobody else can go. Oh, and disagreeing with Archbishop Wensky is NOT rebellion. A Bishop may be corrected if wrong, for example St Paul corrected the first Pope St Peter. It is not a sin to disagree with this directive. Yes, we obey, but obeying is not necessarily agreeing, and as such I am not in "direct opposition to God". Finally, it would be more productive if we all pray for the sick, for the country and for the world.
Maria Alemany - 03/19/2020 11:57 AM
To Whom It May Concern What will the Archdiocese do to communicate to the parishioners who need assistance where they can get this assistance? Perhaps this should be posted in oarish bulletins. Many parishes have a Saint Vincent de Paul society and this is the moment in my opinion to have those funds available for those who need them. Many poor people do not have computers. Therefore I’m suggesting that you have signs posted at the rectory with information as to where they could get help. Any funds that we have available to help the needy should be easily accessible to them at this time. I understand there’s a concern with the virus and we do not want to be in contact with other people However we can Mail checks and Publix cards for example to the needy in our parishes May God be with you and with all of us. Thank you! María
Dolores Vivian McBride - 03/19/2020 09:35 AM
Scripture says, “ Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”(1Sam 15:22). Archbishop Wenski has been appointed by Jesus as our leader and guide. He speaks for Jesus Himself. So by resisting his directive you are placing yourself in direct opposition to God. Think about that and stop rebelling.
Martha - 03/19/2020 08:27 AM
We obey and pray for all our brothers who left to meet our Lord because of the situation we are living in. I know that very soon our Churches will open and we have learned that our Heavenly Father has always been by our side like a Father who cares Saint Catherine of Siens
Fatima Herrera - 03/19/2020 01:43 AM
Thank you, Archbishop Wensky, for Your decision. Please pray for us as you celebrate Mass and for an end to this disease so that we may once again celebrate Eucharist together in person. Peace be with you.
David Contreras - 03/19/2020 12:41 AM
I find highly distressing to encounter this measures in place. We need our Blessed and Holy Sacrament with us in this hard times. Without mass the world would cease to exist said Padre Pio. Mass is my strenght in this valley of tears. How canI tachmy daughter that Jesus is truly present with us and is truly our savior and Lord when we are kneeling t a disease instead? We need processions, masses, prayers, active prests in the strets with us in this timws to uphold our faith and our hope. Do not we catholics are the gardians of the Mistery of Misteries?
Raul Aued, OCDS - 03/19/2020 12:26 AM
The staff his Excellency Archbishop Wenski carries is a shepherd's staff. He is the representative of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. As such, he cares for his flock. It would be more salutary by far to obey his directives than to risk getting infected or infect someone else.
Theresa Collier - 03/18/2020 09:14 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with Beatrice Chong. I woke up this morning and read the wonderful prayer to Mary on the Archbishop's message from yesterday and then read the message from this afternoon. What changed in 24 hours? Not God's promises, that's for certain.
Antonia R C - 03/18/2020 08:19 PM
Thank you Archbishop Wenski for your prayers and discernment in taking the best course of action to protect your church community at this time. May our Lord continue to bless and protect his church, church leaders and all world leaders at this time of great need. May we all unite in prayer for the entire world.
Tina J - 03/18/2020 07:36 PM
I think this is a wise decision. I know that it was a painful one, however, this is the best course of action at this time. It is temporary and this too shall pass.. There's many people with underlying problems ( I myself am asthmatic) that could get very ill if infected. Please understand and continue to pray..🙏🙏🙏
Graceann McNear - 03/18/2020 07:13 PM
One does not need to be physically in a church to feel the presence of God, nor to speak or listen to Him. God is everywhere. Loosen up folks.
Valli Leone - 03/18/2020 07:07 PM
Brothers and sisters, this is a very sad day; and we will abide with praise and obedience according to the mandate of our Archbishop Wenski. Thank you, your Excellency, for doing what you know is right to keep God‘s people safe. I believe it’s time for all of us to dust off those Bibles, crack them open and have our own living room Bible studies with our families. Jesus is the Word; and our Lenten sacrifice regarding the Eucharist will hopefully lead to a greater hunger and thirst for his body and blood in the future. Jesus’ love never fails; it never gives up; it never runs out on us! Abba Father, our Defender, you are holy; and we surrender. Holy Spirit , release your power and have your way! We decree and declare by the blood of Jesus Christ that the best is yet to come! ✝️⚓️💜
Beatriz Chong - 03/18/2020 06:39 PM
Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe- St. Agustine Faith in the True Presence in the Eucharist is the center of our Catholic faith. When skepticism and relativism plague our Church from within, measures that seemingly confirm the doubts of many- that seem to validate the notion that the reception of the Eucharist is just like the reception of any other material, thus subject to the same laws of nature and human transmissions- do more harm to a soul than any deadly virus can. Can any believing person really conceive of Our Lord allowing the transmission of a virus during the conferring of his body via the consecrated hands of a priest acting in persona Christi? It's paradoxical to ask us to believe the mystery of transubstantiation while at the same time caving to the pressures of human respects by transposing our human vulnerabilities onto God and his representatives. When Jesus walked among the lepers he didn't practice 'social distancing,' nor did he order his apostles to close shop, so to speak. He walked among them and gave of Himself to heal, comfort, and covert. And when he made the ultimate sacrifice, he first instituted the means by which his example would be carried on in perpetua. It is a terribly sad day when the Church tells us she will refrain from bringing the body of Christ into our midst at a time when we most need it. It's a slap in the face to those who believe, and another tool that will be used by those who mock and accuse Catholics of hypocrisy. I care little of what people say, but sadden at the thought of the souls of the people that could have been protected or converted in this crisis.
Vivian De La Guardia - 03/18/2020 06:20 PM
I agree with Bishop Vigano, I'm very disappointed with the lack of creativity to distribute the Eucharist to those with low risk or simply defy the risk to receive HIM in Holy Communion. The church is being tested and failing miserably 💔 https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vigano-i-disagree-with-shutting-down-masses-due-to-coronavirus
F. "Dondi" gutierrez - 03/18/2020 04:05 PM
Archbishop Wenski, All Religious& Laity, Please read Matthew 22:21 & 16:25. These are GOD's guidance for the faithful.
Sandra Cox - 03/18/2020 03:51 PM
Your Excellency: It is with immense distress that such extreme measures have been taken towards the Catholic Church at large concerning Covid_19. As we look in history, there have been many plagues and the Church has counter with prayers and devotions to appease God's wrath. How can we appease God's wrath today, when the Summit of our Faith has been taken away. Did Jesus Christ not come to heal the sick? What then, would the Holy Eucharist, which is Chirst Himself do at this crucial time? Please designate a parish or a chapel where the Holy Mass can be celebrated for those of us that are willing to die a white martyrdom. In Christ, Sandra Cox
Felipe Barreda - 03/18/2020 03:17 PM
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.9 B)" data-cr="#cen-ESV-2061B" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;">Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,10 but the C)" data-cr="#cen-ESV-2062C" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;">seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lordyour God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the D)" data-cr="#cen-ESV-2062D" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;">sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For E)" data-cr="#cen-ESV-2063E" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;">in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." This is so wrong on so many levels and we will be divinely punished for this. God have mercy on us; God help us.
William Zambrano MD - 03/18/2020 02:46 PM
Cancelling church services is the wrong response to the coronavirus pandemic. Please see the First Things Editorial, KEEP THE CHURCHES OPEN!by R. R. Reno which can be found at https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2020/03/keep-the-churches-open .
Jack Louden - 03/18/2020 01:29 PM
Thank you Bishop for your wise decision regarding liturgies in light of the corona virus. If you would like music for any livestream liturgies, please let me know and I will be happy to assist. JACK LOUDEN San Pablo Catholic Church Marathon, FL
Matthew - 03/18/2020 01:27 PM
Your Excellency, for anyone looking to keep up with religious ed and study the faith (adults or children) especially during this time when so many churches are closed, I highly recommend the affordable classes offered here: https://www.catechismclass.com/shop/courses.php

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