The Diocese or Orange responds to government directives regarding COVID-19:
Suspension of Masses but with open doors
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Kevin Vann announced that by no later than March 17, all daily and Sunday in-person Masses in the Diocese of Orange will be temporarily suspended. However, churches will remain open for parishioners and others who wish to pray and seek spiritual assistance. All Catholics in the Diocese of Orange are dispensed from the obligation of attending Mass. A decision on when Masses will resume will be made in coordination with state and local public authorities.
Parishioners will be able to view Sunday Masses via livestream at Facebook.com/ChristCathedralCA in English at 9:45 a.m., Spanish at 11:30 a.m. and Vietnamese at 1:15 p.m. Christ Cathedral has plans to livestream daily Mass in English at 6:30 a.m. and Vietnamese 5:30 p.m. St. Edward the Confessor will livestream 8:15 a.m. morning Mass from Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday at http://stedward.com/stedcast/.
This prudent step Bishop Vann is taking today is in helping to stop the virus from spreading and one more step in keeping OC Catholics healthy.
“I have grown deeply troubled by the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bishop Vann. “While the doors of the church are always open and will never close for individual visits and devotions such as the Rosary and visits to the Blessed Sacrament, I encourage parishioners to follow the protocols communicated by the health professionals.”
On March 12, Bishop Vann announced steps to reduce attendance at individual services to less than 250 people and to make Mass simpler and shorter. He earlier dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass for the ill, those wanting to avoid crowds, and those who did not feel comfortable attending Mass given the current environment.
The closure of diocesan Catholic schools was announced Friday, March 13 as students shift to online learning. Schools will remain closed until Monday, April 20. However, if there is improvement in stopping the spread of the virus, the school administration may revise the date to return to class earlier than April 20. Parents should watch for continued messaging from their school’s leadership.
Diocesan schools close, shift to online
The public’s health and safety are paramount to the Diocese of Orange and all of our community and educational partners. While there have been no confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses within any of our schools, we want to ensure that we are acting with prudence and diligence for the best interest of our students, teachers, and families.
After careful consideration and in light of the fluid nature of this pandemic, the Diocese of Orange elementary schools will close their school buildings and cancel classes and student-related activities from March 16 – April 17, 2020. We plan to re-open schools on April 20, 2020 following the Easter Break. This closure includes any planned school events such as fundraisers, community events as well as field trips. This closure means that school buildings will not be open to children, parents, or community members during this time. Course content will be delivered utilizing the Diocesan distance learning protocol which has been distributed to all schools.
I understand this is an evolving health concern, and guidance is changing daily. This complex decision involved close collaboration and coordination with the Orange County Health Agency and Bishop Kevin Vann. I also ask that you please inform your school principal if your child receives a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
I understand this may cause a hardship for many families. We made this decision out of maximum consideration for the health and safety of our children and school community members.
As we proceed, we are aware that there continues to be many concerns around COVID-19 and want to ensure families that we are working closely with OC Health Agency for updates and guidance. For the latest information on COVID-19, families are encouraged to visit the OC Health Agency web page dedicated to COVID-19 (http://www.ochealthinfo.com/) and the CDC homepage.
As a community of faith, let us hold one another in prayer during this challenging time. Please pray especially for the sick, health care providers, public health officials, and all community leaders during the weeks to come.
For updates regarding this closure, please visit our OC Catholic Schools website at https://occatholicschools.org/.
The article above was released by the Diocese of Orange.