The bishop of the Diocese of Las Vegas has extended the suspension of public Catholic Masses until May 31.
In an order issued Friday, Bishop George Leo Thomas also extended his dispensation of local Catholics from attending Sunday Mass through May 30.
Also continuing through May will be suspension of activities at all parish-related venues, including churches, worship spaces and adoration chapels.
Thomas said Monday that the most recent information about the pandemic in Southern Nevada shows that “there is still significant numbers of new diagnoses and deaths.”
“We have so many elderly and medically vulnerable” parishioners, he said. “That is my big concern — protecting them.”
Thomas said he will review his order during the coming weeks. In the meantime, he has announced creation of a Diocesan Restoration Council that will assist in deciding when, and how, to reopen churches.
The council, chaired by John Kilduff, president of Bishop Gorman High School, includes representatives from such fields as medicine, business, gaming, education, pastoral ministry and law enforcement.
“I know what I don’t know,” Thomas said. “So I do have the ability to bring a lot of wise people around the table.”
How to return the diocese to normal operation is “a complex question,” he said. “I need (council members) to assist me in asking those questions.”
The Diocese of Las Vegas encompasses Clark, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Nye and White Pine counties and is home to more than 750,000 Catholics and 34 parishes.