Bishop Scharfenberger: Parishes can offer public services with safety protocols

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(WIVB) – Parishes in the Diocese of Buffalo can offer public services while maintaining the safety protocols detailed in the Diocesan guides, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said Saturday afternoon.

The announcement comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during his Saturday morning briefing that houses of worship can open at 25 percent capacity in Phase Two of reopening.

WNY Catholics are encouraged to check with their parishes before planning to attend a Mass.

Pastors can decide whether or not to reopen services to the public. Priests can opt out of presiding over Masses if they are concerned for their health.

The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in place, Scharfenberger said. Mass via livestream will continue.

Parishes throughout the Diocese have been working on plans to ensure they can meet safety standards that will keep the six-foot social distancing requirement in place throughout Mass.

Churchgoers should bring and be ready to wear their own masks. They are also encouraged to bring a bottle of hand sanitizer for their own use, and should plan on restricted seating and other changes.

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