Mississippi bishop cancels all Catholic services over coronavirus concerns

Published 10:10 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Catholic bishop over the Diocese of Jackson announced Tuesday plans to suspend all public masses, church events and gatherings over concerns over the coronavirus.

“As a church community we have an obligation to protect the common good and reduce and slow down the
spread of coronavirus in order to keep from possible exposure of those vulnerable and from overwhelming our health care system,” wrote Bishop Joseph Kopacz. “We all are called to make sacrifices that will benefit others.”

Kopacz said the suspensions would be until further notice, but said the church would reassess the situation at the beginning of April.

Under the directive:

  • Funerals should be simple graveside services with limited attendance.
  • Weddings should include gatherings of 10 or less
  • Priests are asked not to travel outside the diocese.
  • Parish staff should limit in-person office work and seek to handle business by telephone or through email.
  • “This is a unique time in the life of our diocesan church and strengthening the domestic church through faith formation, prayer and spiritual growth in the home as a family and as individuals will bring us in solidarity with one another and the universal church,” Kopacz wrote.

    “Let us pray for one another during this time of sacrifice and remember those who have been affected around the world by this virus and by other forms of sickness, disease and violence. Let us pray for medical personnel to be guided in the healing of the sick and for them to be protected. Let us pray for those most vulnerable that by our acts of sacrifice we will protect them from harm.”