As state-mandated restrictions remain in place in Delaware and Maryland, Bishop Malooly has instructed pastors in the Diocese of Wilmington to keep churches closed until further notice to try to help limit the spread of coronavirus.
Public Masses were suspended indefinitely by the bishop March 15, but some churches had been open for private prayer.
“No gatherings or services should be organized that bring people out of their homes,” Bishop Malooly said in a statement sent to pastors. He also said “No drive-in, drive-through, drive-up, or other type services are permitted.”
Bishop Malooly has also instructed priests not to offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation in parishes and to only perform the sacraments in cases where a person is in danger of dying.
“We need to take every precaution and every step necessary to ensure the health of the people we serve,” Bishop Malooly said. “Government officials and experts have said that these upcoming weeks will be critical to slowing the spread of the disease in this area.”
The bishop said parish offices should be closed to the public and minimal staff may be brought in to perform essential functions. Programs that serve those in need may continue, respecting social distancing guidelines, he said.
Funeral Masses remain suspended, with only graveside services taking place with no more than 10 people present, including the priest performing the Rite of Committal.
The bishop encouraged parishes to find ways to remain in contact with their parishioners via telephone and digital means. Additional information can be found at cdow.org/coronavirus.
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