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Diocese sets plan in place to gradually reopen churches

Limited public Mass could resume May 29
Posted at 12:04 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 15:05:21-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Diocese of Tucson has put a plan in place to reopen churches.

Starting May 23, pastors will be allowed to provide Holy Communion outdoors, after they celebrate Mass remotely.

Limited Public Mass could resume as early as May 29, with each pastor demonstrating that he has put proper social distancing and safety procedures in place.

Worshipers are asked to check their parish's individual websites and Facebook pages for updates and instructions.

When churches do reopen, they will be closed Tuesdays through Thursdays to allow time for cleaning, as well as any lingering coronavirus to die.

On March 31, the Diocese suspended in-person services.

In a statement, Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger outlined the process, noting that changes could come if the intensity of coronavirus contagion increases.

"If at any time that we see an intensity in Coronavirus contagion, an overwhelming of our healthcare facilities, or other factors that advise a change to our plans, then be assured that we will do so. Indeed, this could include returning to the state of closing our churches to public worship once again," he said.

Those ages 65 and up, as well as those with health concerns, are asked not to come to church.

"I call upon Catholics to be especially attentive to their pastors as they work with parish leadership to institute these critical protocols," Weisenburger said. "I also call upon faithful Catholics and all persons of good will to join me in prayers for an end to the pandemic as well as charitable endeavors for all those harmed by the virus, unemployment, or other factors. May God bless you abundantly."