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Going viral

Diocese cancels public Masses, other events to limit exposure to virus

By VERONICA AMBUUL
03/20/2020 | Comments

COLORADO SPRINGS. In response to health officials’ recommendations that large group events be cancelled to limit the spread of coronavirus, the bishops of Colorado on March 13 ordered that all public Masses and other group meetings at parishes cease until the end of March.

“It saddened all of us, but, in the end, we believe that it is a necessary means to help halt the spread of this deadly virus,” Bishop Michael Sheridan wrote in his column in The Colorado Catholic Herald.

“It would be irresponsible to continue to invite large numbers of people to come to church, sit next to one another, and perhaps become ill or unknowingly pass the virus to someone else. Large gatherings of people in close quarters must be avoided.” As of press time on March 17, parishes in the diocese were still offering the sacrament of reconciliation, eucharistic adoration and other individual activities. Visit www.diocs.org for the latest updates on the diocese’s response to the pandemic.

On March 12, the Office of Total Catholic Education sent a letter to families of Catholic school students announcing that diocesan Catholic schools would be closed March 16-27.

“The decision to close the Catholic schools was difficult because we understand that it will have an impact on our parents and families but it was made primarily with the safety of your children in mind,” wrote Holly Goodwin, Superintendent of Catholic Education for the diocese. “For the safety of our students and the good of our community, the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Colorado Springs will join the public schools and close for two weeks beginning March 16.

Concerns about the spread of coronavirus also caused Catholic Charities of Central Colorado to cancel its annual St. Patrick’s Day gala, which was scheduled to be held March 14.

As of March 16, Catholic Charities was distributing sack lunches in place of cooked meals from 11 a.m.-noon each day at Marian House soup kitchen. The agency is seeking donations of brown paper bags, sliced bread, peanut butter and jelly, singleserve containers of chips, Styrofoam containers, canned tuna and chicken, lunch meat, sandwich bags and nitrile food service gloves. Donations can be dropped off at Marian House Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

On March 13, Benet Hill Monastery announced that it was closed through April 4 and was suspending all activities, including Sunday liturgy, retreats, classes, films, concerts, tours, and spiritual direction.

“As we learn more about the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), our primary concern is for the welfare of our sisters who live here and for staff members,” wrote Sister Clare Carr, Benet Hill prioress. “Currently, no sister or staff member is infected with the virus. We ask for your patience and understanding as we take steps to protect and prevent the spread of this virus to our most vulnerable.”

With parishioners unable to attend Mass in person, many turned to social media and the Internet. The Denver-based Capuchin Province of St. Conrad began livestreaming Masses on Sunday mornings at 8 a.m. at www.capuchins.org/mass. Father Kyle Ingels, diocesan director of campus ministry, also began livestreaming Masses on Instagram at fatherk.

EWTN is also broadcasting Mass in English at 6 a.m., 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. M.D.T. on weekdays; and at 6 a.m., 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. M.D.T. on Sundays. Visit www.ewtn.com for more details on programming.

Also, Word on Fire Catholic Ministries is offering videos of daily Masses at wordonfire.org/daily-Mass.


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