The Tablet Staff
Effective 12 p.m., Friday, March 20, all churches and rectories in the Brooklyn Diocese are now closed.
“We want to ensure that there cannot be any more possible exposure to the virus at one of our Churches in Brooklyn and Queens,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “This was not an easy decision to make, however, the safety of our parishioners and our priests, deacons, and religious and parish staff weigh heavily on my mind.”
All related churches and rectories are undergoing a deep cleaning and sanitization, with approved disinfectants, following guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The decision to close churches and rectories “was made so to prevent the ever-present possibility of the virus spreading,” the diocese said.
During this time, parish office business will continue by telephone only.
“While contact in person is limited at this time, the pastors and priests at our parishes are available by phone and via social media to help the faithful get through this trying time,” the press release notes. Spiritual counseling will be also provided over the phone.
Funerals, weddings, and baptisms will not be permitted in church at this time, as limiting them to 10 people as advised would not be possible.
However, outdoor graveside services will be permitted at the discretion of cemetery administration, so long as services follow CDC guidelines on social distancing.
Memorial Masses, Weddings and baptisms are to be postponed. Confirmations and Communions have also been postponed until May 15.
Reconciliation will be limited to emergencies only, where “social distancing measures will be observed,” the diocese said. If needed, Confession may be held outdoors, provided that the priest and penitent are also maintaining a safe distance.
Bishop DiMarzio has also dispensed parishioners in Brooklyn and Queens from the law of abstinence for Fridays during this Lenten season.
“This is being done to assist people who may have difficulties in shopping for food or other reasons which would make this practice difficult at this time,” the diocese said.
Fridays of Lent will continue to remain days of penance and prayer.
To read the latest updates regarding coronavirus concerns in the Brooklyn Diocese, go to https://thetablet.org/coronavirus.