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Church Mass suspended, local pastors have leeway

Journal Staff REPORT

Because of the surge of COVID infections across the state and the recent imposition of new restrictions by order of the governor, Archbishop of Santa Fe, John C. Wester restated his directive that indoor Mass be suspended and attendance limited at other rites, although he added flexibility for pastors.

Under the governor’s modified health order, houses of worship can accommodate the lesser of 25% of the fire marshal’s rated capacity for the building, or up to 75 persons, for worship services.

In a notice from the office of Vicar General Glenn Jones, “because of the expressed anguish of many of the faithful of not being able to attend Mass,” the Archbishop is allowing pastors the flexibility to “ease the severity of restrictions to those outlined in the governor’s order” if they can determine that local pandemic conditions and infection rates allow for it.

However, the Vicar General’s notice also said the Archbishop continues to strongly recommend that people, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, remain home and away from gatherings. Consequently, the dispensation not to attend weekly Mass remains in effect.

For those who do attend rites in churches and elsewhere, the Archbishop asks that precautions be observed, including maintenance of social distance, wearing masks, frequent hand washing, and liberal use of hand sanitizers and disinfectants.

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