Catholic Masses in the Diocese of Las Vegas will be suspended at least through the weekend of April 5 in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In announcing the move Monday, Bishop George Leo Thomas wrote that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Southern Nevada Health District and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak all have “underscored the import and impact of ‘social distancing’ as an indispensable element required to allay the impact of this global pandemic.
“To that end, I have made the difficult but necessary decision to suspend the public celebration of Mass across the Diocese of Las Vegas, at least through the weekend of Palm Sunday (April 5, 2020) or until further notice. This includes the suspension of all Church services, parish meetings and religious education classes, effective immediately.”
“The decision to suspend public celebration of Mass must be driven by grave and unprecedented circumstances and can never be taken lightly,” Thomas added. “These are the conditions in which we find ourselves today.”
Thomas is permitting funerals and scheduled weddings to take place, while asking pastors to limit gatherings to no more than 250 people.
Thomas also is giving pastors the option to keep their parish churches open for “reasonable hours each day so that individual parishioners will have the opportunity for private devotional prayer and Eucharistic Adoration,” and calls it “essential to remember the importance of our prayers for one another, our civic leaders and health care providers at this time.”