Bishop DiMarzio Dispenses Faithful From Mass Obligation in Response to Coronavirus Concerns

The Tablet Staff

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn has dispensed Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice, as a proactive response to growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus. 

The Brooklyn Diocese has taken the measure in compliance with New York State regulations regarding the virus, which placed an indefinite ban on most large gatherings of more than 500 people. 

“Sunday Public Masses will still be celebrated,” the Diocese of Brooklyn said in a March 13 press release.  “However, the faithful are urged to exercise caution if they are to attend.”

Parishioners are being urged to take the necessary precautions at Mass, including remaining at a safe distance from others and receiving Holy Communion in the hand. 

The distribution of the Precious Blood and the Sign of Peace with a handshake will continue to be suspended at Mass, and some church fonts may be found without Holy Water as a precaution. 

The Diocese of Brooklyn has also issued guidelines to parishioners to help prevent cases of coronavirus at Mass. 

Weekday Masses will continue as usual, and sacraments like weddings and funerals will continue to take place under the expectation of limited attendance. 

For parishioners who do not attend Masses during this time, they can watch the Celebration of the Eucharist on NET-TV, the cable channel of the Brooklyn Diocese. 

NET-TV can be seen in the New York City area on Spectrum (Channel 97), Optimum (Channel 30), and FIOS (Channel 48). Viewers can also tune in online at

The Mass schedule is as follows:

  • Saturday – 6 pm Vigil Pre-recorded from Immaculate Conception Church in Jamaica (English)
  • Sunday – 11 am Live from St. James Cathedral in Downtown Brooklyn (English)
  • Sunday – 1:30 pm Pre-recorded from Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights (Spanish)

“Additionally, all in-person parish religious education classes, all youth ministry classes, group meetings, CYO activities, and adult faith formation sessions will be canceled until further notice,” the statement reads. 

Catholic schools and academies in the Brooklyn Diocese will also be closed from Monday, March 16, to Friday, March 20. 

To read the latest updates regarding coronavirus concerns in the Brooklyn Diocese, go to

Click here to read a statement from the Diocese of Brooklyn regarding dispensation of the faithful from Mass obligation until further notice:













Click here to read a letter to the Faithful from the Office of the Vicar General regarding precautions being taken at Mass throughout the Brooklyn Diocese: