All public Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter masses in Brooklyn and Queens have been cancelled in order avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, the Diocese of Brooklyn announced on Wednesday.
The measure is being taken by the diocese in order mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus and to adhere to the state mandate banning all gatherings of 10 or more people.
Instead, priests will bless palm leaves and place them on tables behind churches on Palm Sunday for parishioners to pick up. Masses on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday will be broadcast on the Diocese of Brooklyn’s cable channel NET-TV. The diocese is still working on a broadcast schedule.
All confirmations and communions have been cancelled until May 15. Reconciliation Monday, a time devoted to confession at the beginning of Holy Week, is also cancelled. Priests will be available for individual confessions throughout the rest of the Lenten season and during the coronavirus crisis.
The Chrism Mass, a special mass usually held on Holy Thursday for members of the clergy to anoint holy oils used in sacraments throughout the year, is also cancelled. The Bishop will hold the mass and the oils will be available for distribution at designated sites around the diocese. The Brooklyn Diocese has still not decided on the designated sites.
Priests will still administer the sacrament of anointing the sick and will take extra precautions visiting people suffering from COVID-19, the illness contracted from the novel coronavirus. The Diocese also said in a statement that priests “will try to make communion calls, adhering to necessary health precautions.”
“In the days and weeks ahead, let us ask God to watch over the people of our Diocese and all of His people; those who are sick, those who will fall ill, and those who are caring for them,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in a statement.