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.