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Catholic Diocese of Richmond suspends public Mass: 'Pray with me for an end to the pandemic'

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Posted at 3:57 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 15:57:11-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced the suspension of all public Masses effective immediately amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Virginia.

“As shepherd, I must balance the health and wellbeing of the community, ensuring we are cooperating with the common good, with continuing with the mission of our Church,” Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout, Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, said.

This suspension includes Sunday Masses, holy days, weekday Masses and confirmation liturgies.

“I know there are many of our faithful who desire to attend Mass in person and this announcement will bring them great heartache. However, I feel this is a necessary step in the best interest of public health to protect against further infection," said Bishop Knestout. "I ask the faithful to pray with me for an end to the pandemic, for the sick and all who are working to put an end to this virus.”

Bishop Knestout will livestream Sunday Masses and encourages other parishes to do the same if they are able.

Bishop Knestout has also directed the following:

- All weddings and funerals should continue with the attendance limited to immediate family members. The numbers should not exceed 50 people.

- Pastoral care by priests for the sick remains of the utmost importance during this time and will continue.

- Churches should remain open for individual private prayer, but gatherings of multiple individuals for prayer
are discouraged.

- Non-essential meetings are cancelled. If an essential meeting is needed, it should not exceed 50 people.

- Priests will continue to celebrate their own private Masses daily to pray for their parishioners and the diocese.

For more information of what the diocese is doing visit: https://richmonddiocese.org/coronavirus