GREENSBURG—In order to honor the requests of civil leaders and medical advisors, Greensburg Bishop Edward C. Malesic, after consulting with the diocesan Presbyteral Council, senior staff and medical experts, has issued additional guidelines and mandates to the diocese during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The guidelines are effective April 4, 2020.
“This is an act of charity that should be observed by the faithful as members of a Church that respects, supports and protects the lives of all persons,” Bishop Malesic said.
“We are entering into a particularly critical moment for our society. Our president and our governor have each encouraged all of us to greatly limit our ‘out of home’ activity,” Bishop Malesic said.
“We encourage everyone to stay at home when possible in order to ‘flatten the curve’ of the rate of infection and to prevent the widespread advance of this disease.”
To see Bishop Malesic’s latest letter to the people and clergy of the Diocese of Greensburg, visit the Health Alerts page on the diocesan website.
In addition to all previous directives, the following guidelines and mandates apply to all parishes, parish priests, parish administrators and deacons, parish churches and all public chapels:
- All parish churches and public chapels are to be closed until further notice, except in those cases listed below.
- The Sacrament of Reconciliation should be limited to those in serious need. Confessions should be arranged by appointment.
- Baptisms are to be delayed, if possible. However, should baptism be required, no more than 10 people, including clergy, are permitted to be present, taking extreme caution to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- Weddings should be delayed, if possible. However, should a wedding occur during this time of threat, no more than 10 people, including clergy, are permitted to be present. Proper social distancing must be maintained.
- When a person has passed away, it is encouraged that burial at the cemetery take place without a prior funeral Mass and that a memorial Mass be scheduled for family and friends at a later date. Should, however, a funeral Mass or liturgy occur within the church building, no more than 10 people, including clergy, pall bearers, and the staff of the funeral home, may be present, taking into account all normal precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- All scheduled spring confirmations by the bishop have been cancelled and will be administered by pastors at a later date.
- Reiterating a previous directive, the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick must be given to those who are gravely ill or in the active process of dying, following all CDC guidelines for everyone’s safety.
“I will carefully monitor this situation and hope to be able to modify or eliminate these directives and mandates as soon as possible,” Bishop Malesic said. “If we all do our part, and if we follow the advice of experts, we will be able to return to our churches and sacraments sooner rather than later.”
He encouraged people to continue to pray for one another and take advantage of the many online services and participate, if only virtually, in the celebrations of the church’s liturgies. The crisis has brought about the first-ever “Virtual Holy Week” in the diocese – with all streaming Masses and Liturgies. For more information, go to www.dioceseofgreensburg.org, www.theaccentonline.org or a parish website.
Text “Faith” to the number 724-305-3057 to sign-up for important text message alerts and immediate communication. Up-to-the-minute communication is also available on all diocesan social media outlets — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — and on its website, www.dioceseofgreensburg.org/healthalerts.