Seattle, Wash., Mar 12, 2020 / 12:20 pm
The Archdiocese of Seattle has suspended public Masses and closed some Catholic schools, but priests in the archdiocese have been encouraged to keep churches open for prayer, to continue celebrating Mass privately, and to find ways to offer the sacrament of penance.
In a letter to priests and school leaders, Seattle's auxiliary bishop encouraged pastors to "set specific hours for the church to be open for private prayer, to "reserve the Blessed Sacrament in the Church for private prayer," and to "be available for pastoral emergencies, private meetings, anointing of sick, and so on."
"At the end of the day, we want to ensure we are slowing the spread of the coronavirus and protecting the vulnerable in our community, while also serving the needs of our parishioners," Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg wrote March 11, the same day public Masses were suspended in the archdiocese.
The decision to suspend Masses, Mueggenborg wrote, "was made for the common good and for the people of God entrusted in our care - many of whom are considered high risk and vulnerable. We must do our part to slow down this epidemic."