NEW ORLEANS – In light of Governor John Bel Edwards’ executive order on Friday, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond released a letter to the clergy, religious, and laity of the Archdiocese of New Orleans with guidance as to how the executive order affects church and school activities.
In summary the letter:
- Dispenses the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass for the next 30 days;
- Encourages vulnerable populations to exercise caution and implement “social distancing”;
- Confirms all Catholic school closures through April 13; and
- Gives pastoral discretion to parish fish frys and St. Joseph Altars.
Please see below for the complete text of Archbishop Aymond’s letter:
To the Clergy, Religious, and Laity of the Archdiocese of New Orleans:
Today, Governor John Bel Edwards issued an Executive Order asking people to refrain from attending gatherings of more than 250 people in an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and closing schools for the next 30 days. It is important for us as people of faith and citizens of Louisiana to cooperate with the Governor’s order for the health and well-being of our community.
Therefore, I am dispensing the Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of New Orleans from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday effective immediately through the next 30 days. We are closing our Catholic schools for the next 30 days in cooperation with the executive order. These dates may be updated as needed. I highly encourage those who are elderly, sick, experiencing symptoms of illness, or who are at high risk of illness to not attend Mass these weekends. The virus has been contracted with serious issues by those 60 and older. Those in that age group must take seriously the caution to implement “social distancing”.
For those who cannot and choose not attend Mass, I remind you that 11 am Sunday Mass from St. Louis Cathedral is broadcast live on WLAE-TV and live streamed at theDailyMass.com and theDailyMass.com Facebook page. We will share the live stream of Sunday’s Mass on the Facebook page of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and my own Facebook page. There are also other opportunities for televised Mass via Catholic TV and EWTN.
Let me be clear that I am not anticipating or encouraging any changes in parish Mass schedules.
Please be advised that all previously released guidance for Mass remains in effect with some modification:
- Please empty the Holy Water fonts;
- Please refrain from holding hands during the “Our Father”;
- Please extend the sign of peace without physical contact;
- Encourage Eucharistic Ministers to practice good hygiene by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after distributing communion; and
- Holy Communion will not be offered from the chalice to the congregation.