To help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, Bishop Alfred Schlert has decided that all public Masses in the Diocese of Allentown will be cancelled, effective immediately. The Diocese of Allentown comprises five counties: Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill.
The Bishop acknowledged the strong devotion the people have to the Holy Eucharist, and has not made this decision lightly, but rather through prayerful discussion and in cooperation with public health officials.
Priests will continue to offer private Masses for the intentions of the faithful. They will continue to be available for confessions, but schedules may vary. Churches will remain open for extended periods of private prayer. Weddings, funerals and baptisms will continue, but attendance will be limited to family members.
Many of the faithful have expressed a strong desire to continue to attend Masses. The Bishop understands this strong connection that individuals have to their faith, but believes that it is in the best interest of all parishioners, and of the public at large, to further limit large gatherings. This is especially true for those of advanced age, or of compromised health, who are most vulnerable.
“This is a time for our priests to be with their people, and to be even closer with them, even though this change seems to distance them from their flocks,” said Bishop Schlert. “Let me assure you that priests will continue to be available to the faithful, and will be creative in the ways they serve the people entrusted to their care.”
There are many options to “participate” in Masses on television and online. Check this website often for further information
The Bishop also encouraged the faithful to pray with their family members frequently, and to pray the Rosary as a family, both for those affected by this pandemic and for all those who care for the ill at home, as first responders, and in hospitals and other institutions.
Previously, the Bishops of Pennsylvania jointly lifted the obligation for the faithful to attend Saturday Vigil/Sunday Mass during the Coronavirus crisis.