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COVID-19

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May 18, 2020

A Message from the Bishop da Cunha:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As I am sure you know by now, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today issued directives for the first phase of reopening in the state of some industries and activities, including the opening houses of worship. After meeting with the Presbyteral (or Priests’) Council this morning and discussing this important matter, I want to communicate our plans as we work on guidelines to prepare our parishes for reopening.

The reopening of our parishes for public Masses and celebrations of sacraments is complex and requires careful planning and implementation. What must be of paramount concern throughout this process of resuming public worship is the safety of our people, our priests, deacons, and lay ministers.

It is very clear that we will need time for this preparation to ensure that we meet all mandatory safety standards and that all churches may have on hand the necessary supplies. It goes without saying that the governor is not mandating the opening of our churches, but rather declaring that we can resume public worship as long as we observe the necessary safety measures.

After much discussion and discernment among the Presbyteral Council, we decided that here in the Diocese of Fall River, we will open our churches for public Masses on the Feast of Pentecost, beginning with the Vigil on Saturday, May 30.

Considering that many people, because of age or a medical condition, are advised not to come to church during this outbreak, or may prefer to stay home because of fear of becoming infected, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass remains in effect until further notice.

I want to remind you that between now and Pentecost, churches will remain open for those who wish to visit for personal prayer and adoration. I am also allowing our priests to hear individual confessions of those who seek to receive the sacrament, observing the necessary safety measures.

Our Easter season culminates with Pentecost as we commemorate the occasion of God’s sending the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ disciples after his Resurrection. This year, it will offer us added joy as we resume public celebrations of Masses in our churches across the Fall River Diocese.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha,
S.D.V.Bishop of Fall River