Catholic Church in Scotland suspends public Masses

Catholic bishops have announced no public Masses will be celebrated in Scotland from Thursday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Churches will remain open for personal prayer but bishops asked that for baptisms, funeral masses and weddings, only close family are invited.

Catholics are urged, where possible, to access the live streaming of Mass from local parishes that have that facility.

The bishops said priests will continue to mark Mass in private, praying for those suffering from Covid-19 and those who care for them.

In a pastoral letter, Scotland’s Catholic bishops said: “Given the official advice to reduce the spread of Covid-19, we have taken the difficult decision respecting the prudential judgment of each bishop to suspend Holy Mass in public for the time being from Thursday March 19, the feast of St Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church.

“As pastors of the flocks entrusted to us, we are responding to an unprecedented crisis in modern times and assure all those whom we lead that this decision has not been taken without much prayer and discernment.

“Priests will continue to celebrate Holy Mass in private with the particular intention of praying for those suffering from Covid-19 and those who care for them.”

They added: “Our Churches will remain open for personal prayer and we would encourage parish priests to welcome individuals who seek consolation and encouragement from the Lord.

“We also ask our priests to be available for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion as and when they are needed especially for the sick and housebound.”

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