Louisville, Ky., Mar 11, 2020 / 15:32 pm
Kentucky’s Governor Andy Beshear on Wednesday encouraged churches to cancel their services in fear of the spreading coronavirus. The Catholic archdiocese in the state does not plan to cancel Masses this Sunday.
On March 11, the governor announced that the eight patients with COVID-19 in the state were "stable and doing well” but stressed that the number of infected will likely increase.
"That number is expected to grow," Beshear said, WDRB reported. "We expect to see more cases. We are prepared to see more cases."
According to the Archdiocese of Louisville, the state’s bishops have been in contact with the Department of Health and Wellness and discussed prevention methods with each other and local pastors. However, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz said he will not cancel Masses.
“With the information I have now, I will not be calling for a diocesan-wide cancellation of daily or weekend Masses,” said Kurtz, in a letter to parish priests.
“We will ask pastors to encourage those who are ill or have symptoms to stay home as an act of Christian charity for their fellow parishioners. … Pastors will be asked to publicize times for Mass of the Air, which is available through a variety of platforms around the Archdiocese,” said an archdiocesan statement.
The statement emphasized the importance of the Eucharist to parishioners and the Church, especially during times of difficulty. It said, though, parishioners who feel vulnerable and afraid may exercise individual discretion.
“The Sunday celebration of the Eucharist is at the center of the life of the Church. Perhaps especially in difficult times, liturgical gatherings are a source of comfort and hope for the faithful, as well as an opportunity to offer our prayers to God for those who are suffering or who cannot be with us,” the statement read.