By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, the Bishop of the statewide Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, announced this afternoon that he was suspended all Catholic Masses, sacraments and other devotions effective on Friday.
The decision comes as the world heads toward Holy Week and the Easter Celebration on Sunday April 12 and the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the world and into Vermont.
While Masses in Vermont may are suspended, Bishop Coyne said he is leaving it up to local parishes to determine if Churches would be available during the day. He said he hoped the 10-person maximum gathering would be respected.
His announcement (printed below), outlines certain offices and services in parishes and the diocese that are open or closed.
Among them are all Catholic schools are closed until Wednesday April 15 with remote and online learning available.
The Bishop also announced that baptisms, funerals and weddings may take place but said attendance will be strictly limited to immediate family members.
Bishop Coyne said the Burlington Diocese is working on providing a livestream of a daily Mass.
The Bishop said his motto, "Trust in the Lord", has carried him through many difficult times.
“Lean on the Lord and know that he will guide you through to better days,” Coyne wrote.
Bishop Coyne’s full announcement follows:
“Effective Friday, March 20, all regularly scheduled public celebrations of the Catholic Mass, sacraments and devotions are suspended until further notice.
Priests of the Diocese of Burlington will continue to celebrate Mass privately for the intentions of their community and the Church. Baptisms, funerals and weddings may take place but will be strictly limited in attendance to immediate family members.
I have taken this course of action following the advice of local public officials and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to limit gatherings to 10 people. While this is a difficult time for the faithful, we must all do our part to ensure the health and well-being of the larger community by helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation and make changes as necessary.
Plans are moving forward to “live-stream” a local celebration of the Mass daily beginning with this Sunday, March 22 at 10 AM. Please check the Diocesan website at https://www.vermontcatholic.org/covid-19/ for all TV Mass options, resources to keep Sunday Holy and the latest updates.
LISTING OF CATHOLIC CLOSINGS AND OPENINGS
Parish offices - open
Diocesan offices - open with limited staffing
Parish food pantries - open (take away only)
Parish soup kitchens - open (take away only)
Vermont Catholic Charities - open
Parish Churches - open daily (please consult local church for scheduled hours)
Catholic schools – closed until April 15 (remote and online learning)
Parish religious education schools – closed (some remote and online learning)
Perpetual Adoration Chapels - closed
I ask that you pray daily the Pope’s prayer to the Virgin Mary for protection from this pandemic (see www.vermontcatholic.org/covid-19/). Please continue to support your parish and the Diocese by giving online or via mail to ensure we remain financially stable during these difficult times.
My motto, "Trust in the Lord", has gotten me through many difficult times. Lean on the Lord and know that He will guide you through to better days.