Bishop Malooly asked for patience and caution as churches begin to open in the Diocese of Wilmington.
In a video posted May 22 on the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington website, the bishop told parishioners in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland that he and his fellow priests are happy to be opening churches again and that they want to be sure everyone stays safe as both states continue to deal with the impact of the coronavirus.
“The safety of our parishioners is still our number one priority,” the bishop said.
“I know this has been a difficult time. Please know that we have been praying for you.”
The bishop emphasized that each parish has its unique challenges in meeting the needs of social distancing and maintaining a healthy environment.
“Once this pandemic is behind us, we will begin to resume normal pastoral activities,” he said.
The diocese announced earlier this week that Masses may resume in Maryland with social-distancing guidelines in place beginning May 25. Public Masses can begin again in Delaware with daily Mass June 1 and weekend Masses June 6-7 as the diocese is reopening churches in accordance with ease of restrictions aimed at limiting spread of coronavirus in the state.
Bishop Malooly on March 15 announced no public Masses would be held in the diocese and dispensed of the Sunday obligation to attend Mass in the effort to limit the spread of the disease. Regulations limiting large gatherings were adopted in both states and the dispensation was intended to conform to those guidelines. The dispensation remains until further notice.
The diocese wants churchgoers to maintain six feet of separation and wear masks among other precautions. People in at-risk categories and anyone feeling ill should continue to stay at home and pastors have been encouraged to continue livestreaming services, the bishop said.