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California Bishops Welcome Guidance on Religious Services

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May 26, 2020

The Roman Catholic Bishops of California commend the people and leadership of California for bringing us through the difficult times imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The guidelines for religious services released yesterday by the California Department of Public Health are positive, constructive and fundamentally in alignment with the reopening plans being prepared by the state’s Catholic dioceses. We are grateful for having been a part of the consultation these past weeks which brings us to this day.

The concern Californians have shown for their neighbors and the good of the community during this pandemic has brought us to this point, and that same cooperative and compassionate spirit of concern should now carry us through the re-opening process.  We will resume the public celebration of the Holy Mass and other services as quickly as local conditions and safety permit with proper physical distancing and appropriate precautions.  Each (arch)diocese will make a decision for itself, in consultation with local health officials. 

The experience of the pandemic has reminded us all of the Church’s deep concern for the well-being of the whole person – physical, emotional and spiritual.  Safety precautions such as social distancing and other measures are a practical demonstration of our call to love our neighbor. 

As we enter into the major solemnities of the Liturgical Calendar in the weeks ahead, we pray that these days and our first steps to celebrating our Faith in our Churches will be a time of blessing, strength and God's abundant grace. 

We look forward to collaborating even further with Governor Newsom and our county leaders in the coming weeks to make social distancing the determining criterion for attendance for public worship so that our communities can undertake a pattern of worship that is both sustainable and safe.