Diocese of Gallup suspends Mass, limits number of people attending funerals and weddings

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup has suspended Mass in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

While Mass has been suspended, Lenten fasting and abstinence remains in place.

The 11 a.m. Sunday Mass and other liturgies will be livestreamed at dioceseofgallup.org. RelevantRadio.com will also provide daily Mass.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate in the world and the United States,” the diocese said in a press release.

The diocese highlighted that the number of known cases is increasing exponentially and people who are 60 years old or older or have underlying health conditions are at the greatest risk. However, up to 15% of people require hospitalization.

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“The current objective of civil authorities is to curtail the spread of the disease, to minimize a sudden spike in the number of people affected which could overwhelm the health-care system, resulting in more deaths than would otherwise occur,” the press release states.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church is pictured, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Farmington.

The diocese described epidemics as a chain reaction and said preventing transmission from one person to another is the best way to break that chain reaction.

Bishop James Wall issued directives on March 17 suspending Mass until further notice. That includes Sunday Mass, daily Masses and Holy Week liturgies. Liturgical services and public devotions, including confirmations, have also been suspended. Adult and children’s religious classes have been suspended as well. The church buildings may remain open for private prayer and devotion.

The Catholic schools will remain closed until the public schools open.

Wall has directed that funeral ceremonies and weddings may continue, but no more than 10 people may attend. The diocese is recommending people schedule public memorial Masses or rosaries for after the crisis has passed.

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The Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession will continue, however confessional booths are not to be used. Instead, Wall is asking priests to conduct the Sacrament of Reconciliation in outdoor settings or large rooms where they can be at least six feet apart from each other.

Each church will post notices on its door with information from the Diocese of Gallup.

A cross is seen inside St. Mary's Catholic Church on Thursday in Farmington. The church is part of the Diocese of Gallup.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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