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Archdiocese of Santa Fe closes churches, schools


Constructed in the 1800s, Santa Fe’s Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi displays Romanesque Revival architecture. Photo by Martin Frentzel/For the Journal

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe is canceling its church services and closing its schools until further notice, effective immediately, following the lead of state officials who have ordered the closure of all New Mexico K-12 public schools for three weeks, Archbishop John C. Wester announced late Thursday.

The measures were taken to prevent community spread of COVID-19.

“The church is very much pro-life and we see this as very much a pro-life issue,” Wester said. “We are concerned about the health of our parishioners, particularly those who are elderly, and people with underlying and chronic health conditions.”

Wester said he made the decision in consultation with Vicar General Rev. Glennon Jones and Episcopal Vicar Monsignor Lambert Luna.

“I think it’s important that if we err, we err on the side of caution.”

Wester also said he informed Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup and Bishop Peter Baldacchino of the Diocese of Las Cruces what measures the Archdiocese of Santa Fe was taking. “They are autonomous and can act independently, of course, but I imagine that we will all be on the same page.”

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe will release more detailed information Friday about how it will handle such events as weddings, funerals, confirmations and baptisms, Wester said. “There are all kinds of things we’ll have to address.”

The archdiocese had planned to continue Masses, but that decision was reversed when state officials late Thursday announced that public schools were going to be closed for three weeks.

Also Thursday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it was suspending public gatherings of church members worldwide “until further notice,” according to a statement released by the Utah-based faith.

That means canceling all Sunday services and midweek activities for more than 30,000 congregations around the globe.

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