Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda is suspending all masses and gatherings for the next 2 weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tonight’s decision came after Archbishop Bernard Hebda suspended the obligation to attend Sunday Mass last week due to an escalating amount coronavirus diagnoses.
The venerable Archbishop’s letter respects the guidelines put forth by state officials recommending that religious officials suspend all events involving large crowds.
Archbishop Hebda writes:
In light of that advice, after consulting with the Presbyteral Council and College of Consultors, and having learned that an active parish priest in another U.S. diocese has tested positive for the virus – unknowingly putting his parish at risk prior to the manifestation of any symptoms – I have made the difficult decision to suspend all regularly scheduled public celebrations of Mass in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, effective immediately. Given both the moral impossibility of attending Mass, as well as the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass that was extended to the faithful of the Archdiocese last week, please rest assured that the missing of Mass in these conditions should not weigh on your conscience.
However, Archbishop Hebda notes that “in their inspiring desire to serve, the priests of the Archdiocese are committed during the next two weeks to continue exploring with the lay faithful possibilities for limited public celebrations of the Mass.”
The letter went on to say that there will be exceptions to this decree, including weddings and funerals, provided they comply with the directives put forth in a memorandum to the clergy of the Archdiocese.
Daily masses will be available remotely at archspm.org/covid19 and parishes will continue to host modified confessions adhering to the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control.
“It pains my heart to have to make this decision since I know how many of you deeply love the Mass as I do,” said Archbishop Hebda in the letter.
The Archbishop emphasized that this decision “will be re-evaluated in two weeks’ time” following any local developments and the latest advice of civil authorities and experts.