No public Masses will be held in Delaware or Maryland’s Eastern Shore while the nation confronts the threat of coronavirus, Diocese of Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly announced March 15.
At the advice of government officials, and after consultation with medical professionals, the bishop made the decision that goes in effect immediately and until further notice to help safeguard the public and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“We do not take this action lightly and without prayerful consideration,” Bishop Malooly said in a statement released by the diocese. “We must put the health and well-being of our parishioners first. I invite the faithful to stay connected to their parish community electronically, and to participate in Mass via television and the Internet, during this challenging time.”
The Diocese of Wilmington has set up a website – cdow.org/coronavirus – with information for Catholics in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, including a viewable Sunday Mass recorded March 14 at Wilmington’s Cathedral of Saint Peter.
Regulations limiting large gatherings have been adopted in both states and the dispensation was intended to conform to those guidelines.
“Additionally, all diocesan and parish Catholic schools and religious education programs, in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, will be closed or canceled for two weeks beginning Monday, March 16, 2020,” according to the statement March 13 from the diocese. “As of now, schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday, March 30, 2020. All CYM sports events have been cancelled until further notice.”
Schools superintendent Louis De Angelo alerted school communities of the decision March 13.
The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington was established in 1868 and comprises 56 parishes, 18 missions and 36 schools serving the State of Delaware and the nine counties of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.