In response to growing public health concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has announced the suspension of public Masses, at least until March 29.
“I deeply regret that we are forced to temporarily suspend public celebration of the Mass in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles,” Archbishop José H. Gomez said in a statement released March 16.
“What we do in the Church, we do out of love for God and love for our brothers and sisters. We are taking this extraordinary step today out of love and concern for those in our families and communities who are most vulnerable to this deadly coronavirus,” he added.
Over the weekend, both California Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced strict new measures aimed at containing the virus’s spread.
Last week, the Archdiocese closed Catholic schools for the remainder of the month and Archbishop Gomez granted a dispensation to all Catholics in the Archdiocese, releasing them from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
Archbishop Gomez stressed that the decision to suspend Masses was “not made lightly,” and that it was made after “much prayer and reflection” and in consultation with the Archdiocese's auxiliary bishops, Council of Priests, lay advisors, and government and public health officials.
Although Masses have now been suspended, the Archdiocese said that churches will be open for private prayer, Eucharistic adoration, and for priests to hear confessions. In addition, the Archdiocese will be making daily and Sunday Masses available via livestream on its Facebook Page (facebook.com/lacatholics/) and is making arrangements to have the daily Mass televised. A full listing on options is available at lacatholics.org/emergency/.
The Archdiocese has also announced “liturgical accommodations” that will be in force during the period when Masses are suspended. These include restrictions on public celebrations of funeral Masses, baptisms, and the limiting of weddings to parties of 10 people or less. Confirmations are also postponed at least until Easter.