PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Weekday and Sunday masses are being put on hold. The Diocese of Phoenix said on Monday it is suspending the gatherings and asking all parish and diocesan-based public events to be canceled. Churches and chapels may be open for private prayer, but social distancing must be practiced.
The Diocese is also asking priests to make confessions available in outdoor or open-air spaces. Mass of the Holy Oils “Chrism Mass” will be celebrated privately, with oils to be distributed to the clergy at the Diocesan Pastoral Center for those in Maricopa County. The Sacred Oils will be overnighted to the parishes in the rest of the Diocese.
The Diocese also said there will be no parish public events or gatherings with more than 10, which includes weddings and funerals. The restrictions will be in place until further notice. More information can be found on their website.
The cancellations and restrictions comes after the state closed schools across Arizona, including Catholic schools. Churches, temples and mosques across the Phoenix area were already taking extra precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, many held services this past weekend. A number of them offered worship services online.
But not all religious institutions held services. Last week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints suspended all public gatherings worldwide because of coronavirus concerns.