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Buffalo Catholic Diocese cancels all public masses until further notice

Mike Desmond

Houses of worship have been caught up in the COVID-19 pandemic. On Sunday, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger announced there will be no regularly scheduled public masses in the Diocese of Buffalo until further notice.

On Friday, the diocese announced a dispensation from Sunday and Holy Day masses, while the bishop urged caution.

This new order complies with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is calling for the postponement of all in-person events that consist of 50 people or more for the next 8 weeks: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html

"Churches may remain open, as locally feasible, and the faithful are encouraged to continue to visit and pray while maintaining a prudent distance from one another," said Scharfenberger.

In addition to the cancelation of masses, Scharfenberger said all other parish events and large gatherings are postponed, including Confirmations. Funerals will continue, though with only immediate family present.

All Catholic schools will remain closed until April 20. Additional information about schools and home study instruction will be made available at:  https://www.wnycatholicschools.org/

“As the faith community of Western New York, we have an important part to play in protecting those most vulnerable and those with underlying medical issues during this period of extreme concern over the spread of the coronavirus,” said Scharfenberger. “I realize how deeply disappointing it is during our season of Lent to refrain from gathering at public Masses and participating together in our liturgical life, but we must avoid the risk of wider infection.”

A full list of parishes that offer live-streamed Masses can be found at: https://www.wnycatholic.org/news/article/featured/2020/03/13/103900/bishop-scharfenberger-dispenses-catholics-from-sunday-and-holy-day-mass-obligation-due-to-coronavirus-threat

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