In response to COVID-19, Archbishop of Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin announced that he has released the faithful of the Archdiocese from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice.
He also suspended the public celebration of Mass for Saturday evening, March 14, and Sunday, March 15, after evaluating recommendations of state health officials.
Mass this Sunday, March 15, will be livestreamed at noon.
To watch the livestream, visit the Archdiocese of Newark’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/nwkarchdiocese.
Following the livestream, the video will be available on the Archdiocese’s Facebook page and website at www.rcan.org. Links will be available on archdiocesan social media channels: @nwkarchdiocese.
The celebration of daily Mass will continue. Churches of the Archdiocese will remain open, and attendees are encouraged to pray while maintaining a distance from each other.
For those who attend Mass, the Archdiocese says that the sign of peace should be exchanged without physical contact. The Archdioceses suspended the distribution of the Blood of Christ from the chalice to parishioners and noted that no attendee is obligated to receive the Body of Christ on the tongue.
Scheduled sacramental celebrations such as weddings, baptisms, or funerals will be permitted, but attendance should be limited to immediate family members only.
The sacraments of the Anointing of the Sick and Reconciliation will remain available.
According to a press release from the Archdiocese, this decision comes after careful consideration by the Archdiocesan Coronavirus Response Task Force, composed of clergy, religious, lay leaders, and medical professionals, which meets daily.
The task force will continue to meet daily and monitor the situation, provide Cardinal Tobin with counsel, and partner with state and local officials to maintain safe and healthy environments.
Catholic schools in the Archdiocese are closed from Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 20.
Religious education activities are suspended throughout the Archdiocese for this weekend, and for the week of March 16.
“Our dedicated teams continue to actively monitor the unfolding pandemic and will continue to meet daily to assess changing circumstances in order to protect the faithful and support its parishes and schools,” Tobin said. “We encourage pastors to think about necessary activities and to postpone nonessential gatherings, keeping in mind the common good.”
Continued updates will be posted on the Archdiocese of Newark’s website at www.rcan.org.