BOSTON (CBS) – The Archdiocese of Boston is suspending all Masses. Cardinal O’Malley says the decision is motivated by concern for those most vulnerable. Starting Saturday afternoon Catholic TV based in Watertown becomes the only way Massachusetts’ Catholics can say Mass with a priest.
“I know there’s a lot of anxiety in the world and our country because of the spread of the Coronavirus,” said a priest delivering Mass on the station.
It’s because of coronavirus that Cardinal Sean O’Malley suspended all Masses and religious services throughout the Archdiocese of Boston.
The decision follows a new state ban on large gatherings.
“We just issued guidance prohibiting gatherings of more than 250 people in the Commonwealth effective immediately,” Governor Charlie Baker said earlier in the day.
Leaving church Friday, Arthur Keohane made plans to attend Mass Saturday morning, the last one he can participate in at his church until further notice.
“It’s better be safe and keep everybody healthy than risk coronavirus spreading throughout the church,” Keohane said.
— Archdio. of Boston (@bostoncatholic) March 13, 2020
Even Catholic TV is taking precautions, as different local priests visit to deliver daily and Sunday Masses.
“Typically priests will bring in a small group of people but we are asking they just bring in a lecturer and server just to keep it simple we want to keep our staff healthy too,” said Bishop Robert Reed, Catholic T.V.
The Cardinal encourages watching the station to participate in Mass. In 65 years, the station’s mission has never been greater.
“It is a great honor to provide this access, even though it’s not the same as going to your local parish,” said Reed.
Arthur Keohane says not even this tests his faith.
“Obviously, we can’t receive communion but we’ll do what we can to keep our faith up,” said Keohane.
Churches are still expected to be open during the day for prayer.
Baptism, confirmations, weddings and funerals can still happen but attendance is expected to be limited to only immediate family.
Churchgoers are encouraged to watch daily and Sunday Masses on CatholicTV’s website.