Monday, March 30, 2020
Following today’s Executive Order by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Archbishop William E. Lori instructed that all parish churches be closed until further notice. The instruction comes just days before the Catholic Church celebrates the holiest days in the Church year, Holy Week and Easter, marking the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The closure means that churches will no longer be open for private prayer for no more than 10 individuals at a time, as was the case in recent weeks since the Archbishop suspended all public Masses to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, the Archbishop has instructed priests not to offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation in parishes and to only perform the Sacraments in cases where the individual is in danger of dying.
“Like Governor Hogan, I want to take every precaution and every step necessary to ensure the health of the people we serve,” Archbishop Lori said. “While no bishop wants to ever close a church to one seeking closeness to God, I pray that in doing so we prevent further suffering, further death and will be closer to the day when we can reopen our church doors to the people we so deeply love and miss.”
Funeral Masses have been suspended, with only graveside services taking place with no more than 10 people present, including the priest performing the Rite of Committal.
All Archdiocesan parishes are being provided support to make available online Masses, at-home prayer and special Holy Week resources for parishioners. Additional information can be found at archbalt.org/coronavirus.