Diocese of Buffalo Issues Guidance for Parishes in Prepartion for Limited Re-Opening of Churches

Thu, May 21st 2020 10:00 am

The Diocese of Buffalo has issued guidance for parish pastors and administrators - "Forward in Faith" - detailing the preparations and precautions they must follow in preparing to resume liturgical services and the celebration of sacraments as the novel coronavirus threat continues.

Governor Cuomo just yesterday issued new instructions allowing for limited gatherings (not more than 10) in places of worship, allowing churches to open on a regional basis provided they meet necessary criteria based on the need to protect public health. The Diocese of Buffalo encompasses two regional councils — Western New York (including Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties) and the Finger Lakes (including Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties).

The guidelines can be referenced at the Diocese's website: https://www.buffalodiocese.org/documents/Coronavirus/Forward%20in%20Faith-%2005-20-2020.pdf

"We welcome the news that churches may begin welcoming back in small numbers those who are eager for the spiritual nourishment that our parishes provide," said Reverend Seán Paul Fleming, the Diocese's Director of Worship who has been leading the Diocesan working group on reopening plans.  "We will be supporting our pastors throughout this process, mindful of the need  to ensure that they do everything possible to mitigate the risks of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus, especially for those most vulnerable. Our many parishes across Western New York will need time to implement the necessary precautions and ensure that there is a consistent approach for safeguarding the health and safety of all who will now once again gather for liturgies and participation in the Church's sacraments."

The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and other Holy Days of Obligation remains in effect and the opportunity to participate in live-streamed Masses can be found at: Live-Streamed Masses.