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So, many places are saying to cancel events over 250 people, which is a LOT of churches. 

Some that do communion weekly already stopped doing the common cup, but the distribution of bread is still an issue. 

And of course, often there are many elderly there. 

I'm debating if we will be going to church for the near future. My compromise is to maybe go to the earlier children's service at 9am - that one is not well attended, so we can sit with space between us and others and it is the first service so no one has been snotting on the pews before you sit there, at least for several days. And that service doesn't do communion at all, so that side steps that issue. 

Or, we may just stay home. I have one kid with an autoimmune disease that flares from any illness, and more concerning, my mother has COPD and is missing a lobe of her lung from previous lung cancer - if we gave it to her it could be lethal. 

Thoughts?

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I posted above that DD was to be baptized today, and then posted that our church was canceled (technically, they're switching to a streaming service for now.) Anyway, we had family coming in for

Have you read any of the accounts from Italian hospitals?  People are being left in the hallways to die because some hospitals are operating at 200+% capacity and there are simply no rooms or medical

If we can slow the spread of Covid-19 through social distancing we can potentially save thousands or even millions of lives--by not having it spread exponentially through the population and overwhelm

In our diocese the stopped communion from the cup and handshakes last week. Our own church is only 15-20 people (we are 6 of those) but it is mostly older people, if we are sick at all we sick. We don't have any cases close at all here (closest 2.5 hrs, only 1 in the state) but I was happy for the proactive measures. As of now, I'm not planning on skipping but keeping a close eye on it.

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I think we may start skipping church.  We go to a fairly large church and there are A LOT of elderly people.  I suspect that soon enough, the church itself is going to cancel services for a bit.  No known cases in town yet, but a nurse is being tested and a few people who traveled internationally are self-monitoring at home.  My dd's university *just* extended spring break by a week and I suspect will move to online classes after that.

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Ours had the sanitiser out last week.  I suspect they will follow whatever the government directions are here, so if they start cancelling mass gatherings it will get cancelled.  We already have live stream people who are sick can log into so I imagine that might become a bigger thing.

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Here in DC, the rector at a large Georgetown church exposed as many as 500 people. Now all the Episcopal churches are shut down.

I would not go. If the church has the capabilities, I'd say put the service online. Meetings can also go online.

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we're in a hotspot.  church was cancelled last week. gov' cancelled gatherings over 250 people yesterday.

church is doing a week by week basis -   I don't expect to have church for at least a few more weeks.

we have a  conference 2x a year, with meetings all day Saturday and sunday - that's coming up the first weekend of april.  in February  they've  sent out notices for those overseas to not come.  Now the directions are to watch it online, at home.  (incidentally - the Church Conference was cancelled in 1918 for the Spanish Flu.)

Last year, they did implement a Sunday School study program which is mostly online. Then we could discuss it at church - but the material is all online and available to all.

Edited by gardenmom5
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We are not in a hot spot. 2 cases in the state both about 1 hour away.  Our services are still on going, but there signs up to stay away (and listen via the phone tie in) if you have any symptoms, have been exposed or if you have a compromised immune system.   Also, announced to not hug, kiss or shake hands.  And before and after every service we are doing a disinfecting of all hard surfaces that are touched often or at all.  

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Our church has suspended services for the rest of the month, and then will reevaluate - so likely longer.  We also have a lot of older people, but our current minister is also in her 70's, so she's at high risk too...  I think they're going to try to figure out some kind of tech idea, but not sure what.  

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I’m pretty upset at the idea of all catholic masses being canceled. It seems to me the better response would be to add more masses so that people can attend in smaller groups and be more spread out in the pews.  Possible permit outdoor masses to reduce spread as well.

We will be at mass if we are not sick.

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3 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I’m pretty upset at the idea of all catholic masses being canceled. It seems to me the better response would be to add more masses so that people can attend in smaller groups and be more spread out in the pews.  Possible permit outdoor masses to reduce spread as well.

We will be at mass if we are not sick.

Big churches already have a lot of masses, though, right? DH's has 5 a weekend, I think.

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Our state asked that gatherings over 100 people be avoided, so I assume our church will be suspending services and recommending we hold home services. They may provide something online--I've heard that's been done recently in at least one other location.

I expect them to authorize families or small groups to hold the ordinance of sacrament/communion; most adult males in our denomination are ordained into a lay priesthood and only need official authorization for such ordinances.

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10 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

We're in the area where a priest gave communion to 100's of people and then got diagnosed.  Smaller masses aren't the solution if the Eucharistic Ministers are the same.  

Well, I was going to post about how funny it was when Fr. Ralph asked everyone, "Please don't lick the priest," at Mass last Sunday, but it's not really so funny now...

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Not sure what, if anything, our church will do. I will be surprised if services are cancelled. I am torn because our pastor is an elderly diabetic who is already stretched thin by holding down the fort after the departure of our senior pastor last summer. I have been worried for him for awhile, and now this.

We are fairly new so I am not sure what we can do. Don't know if it's better to try to help somehow or to stay away.

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Ours is cancelled and services are being streamed. They are looking at other options for people to be able to stay connected with eachother.

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I have no idea what we'll do. Likely, continue going to Mass is they have it and we aren't sick. But one day is sick with sore throat, cough, and possible low grade fever(can't find thermometer and I'm not a good judge of if his body is warm by touch because everyone feels too warm toe all the time.) So, we won't be going anywhere for a while.

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I don't think ours will cancel we are small 60ish people mostly younger.  We stopped hand shakes.  They changed how they do communion so everyone has individual cups with a small cracker under it.  

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41 minutes ago, whitehawk said:

Big churches already have a lot of masses, though, right? DH's has 5 a weekend, I think.


I’d suggest as often as every 3 hours starting at 6 or 7 am until 7 or 8 pm.

And ours is large for our area (there’s not a lot of Roman Catholics in Oklahoma, less than 8%) but we have one Saturday and 3 Sunday. 

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41 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I’m pretty upset at the idea of all catholic masses being canceled. It seems to me the better response would be to add more masses so that people can attend in smaller groups and be more spread out in the pews.  Possible permit outdoor masses to reduce spread as well.

We will be at mass if we are not sick.

The feasibility of that will depend on your local conditions. Canon law allows a priest to say a maximum of three Masses on a Sunday. Our parish Mass schedule is chock full and both priests are already saying their maximum. And there are definitely too many of us there to spread out. For us, I think it would be a better move for the bishop to issue a blanket dispensation from the Sunday obligation for all elderly and those with health conditions that increase their risk. Frankly, way too many Catholics think it makes them extra pious to come when sick.  My second oldest almost died as a baby from a virus we caught at Mass. I’m pregnant right now and the number of Catholics on social media saying they will come to Mass no matter what and we all just need to have faith is seriously stressing me out. I would love a dispensation for myself right now...

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56 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I’m pretty upset at the idea of all catholic masses being canceled. It seems to me the better response would be to add more masses so that people can attend in smaller groups and be more spread out in the pews.  Possible permit outdoor masses to reduce spread as well.

We will be at mass if we are not sick.

 

49 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

We're in the area where a priest gave communion to 100's of people and then got diagnosed.  Smaller masses aren't the solution if the Eucharistic Ministers are the same.  

 

4 minutes ago, Spudater said:

The feasibility of that will depend on your local conditions. Canon law allows a priest to say a maximum of three Masses on a Sunday. Our parish Mass schedule is chock full and both priests are already saying their maximum. And there are definitely too many of us there to spread out. For us, I think it would be a better move for the bishop to issue a blanket dispensation from the Sunday obligation for all elderly and those with health conditions that increase their risk. Frankly, way too many Catholics think it makes them extra pious to come when sick.  My second oldest almost died as a baby from a virus we caught at Mass. I’m pregnant right now and the number of Catholics on social media saying they will come to Mass no matter what and we all just need to have faith is seriously stressing me out. I would love a dispensation for myself right now...

All this. And I don't mean it lightly. Honestly, churches not having services is kind of the thing tipping me over the "oh wow this is super serious" ledge. But I know the catholic churches here have maybe 500 per service, with standing room only, with 1 on saturday and 4 on sunday already. Even if you add 3 more on Saturday...still not enough and who would do it? And since the virus can live on surfaces, you'd have to have a team sanitizing the pews in between, or you could catch it from an empty pew. And with stores OUT of sanitizing cleaners, out of alcohol, out of nearly everything (I snagged some peroxide when I ordered today, but not at all confident it will actually be delivered), plus no hand sanitizer available, so you can't say, well, use that...it's bad. 

And the priest does "wash" with water before handing out communion, but certainly not for 20 seconds with soap. And of course, the idea of a priest who can't touch you at all..it's very distressing all around. I don't knw what the right answer is, but I think a dispensation for anyone worried about the virus is a good idea. And I agree that it is VERY upsetting when I hear about people who seem to think it makes them holy to show up to church no matter how sick. 

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Ok, since I posted that  a few hours ago a person has tested positive in my community. Not the same city, but in the Orlando metro area there are half a dozen small 'cities" that are all on top of each other. So the person tested positive in Altamonte Springs, which is where the local mall is, a lot of restaurants, etc etc. So even though the church is in a different city, and I live in a third city, we all cross into each one all the time. And people attend the church from all over the place, including that city. 

So given all that, we will stay home. Especially since I'd be bringing a two year old that licks things, lol. 

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Just now, CuriousMomof3 said:


Our archdiocese has announced that priests are using hand sanitizer immediately before communion, but if they're close enough to hand it to you, you're close enough to breathe on them, and vice versa.  

Very true, although I'm glad to hear about the sanitizer at least. Hold your breath? 

Pretty sure Jesus knows why we will be staying home. Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man and all that, right?

And they do record the service, I don' tknow that it is live but if not it is available later htat day. 

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I just posted in the other thread. My church has about 1,000 people on a Sunday in three services. They are stopping all regular Sunday services and going to Facebook Live. All other church events are suspended until at least the end of the month.

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47 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

And the priest does "wash" with water before handing out communion, but certainly not for 20 seconds with soap. And of course, the idea of a priest who can't touch you at all..it's very distressing all around. I don't knw what the right answer is, but I think a dispensation for anyone worried about the virus is a good idea. And I agree that it is VERY upsetting when I hear about people who seem to think it makes them holy to show up to church no matter how sick. 


Well, that washing is full of symbolism. It is not supposed to be actually removing germs.

Anyway, I don't know how I feel. I hate, hate, hate the idea of Masses being stopped. But...I get why that decision would be made (it hasn't been made yet in my diocese). And given that I currently have a condition that nobody knows if it makes me high risk or anything, I am feeling extra conflicted. So far, we plan to attend Mass (and I teach a class) this weekend. But there's only been a few cases in our state. Should that change, we may start watching a Mass online. 

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Our church hasn’t canceled yet. We have an average attendance of 150, over 2 services. I wouldn’t be surprised if the common cup wasn’t offered and only individual cups or intinsion are offered for communion.

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The Church already offers dispensation to the infirm or the ailing and to those who need to be their caregivers. It always has.  People may need sternly reminded of that by their bishops, but there doesn’t need to be a special dispensation.

I’m pretty hard core that there is never a good enough reason for the RCC to refuse to have mass entirely.  How far will this go? No anointing of the sick/last rites?  No baptisms or confirmations?

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I’m an ASL interpreter for my church and never miss church. Ever. Our Deaf ministry depends almost solely on me. And we just decided that we are not going this week. My daughter has PANS and my mom has serious lung issues. We are in NJ and I’m surprised our church has not cancelled. 

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My husband and the other pastors at our church are in the thick of this discussion right now. Currently, we are following our county’s guidelines. We still plan on meeting this Sunday. A lot of people are already choosing to stay home. We have a plan for remote services. Snacks are gone, coffee bar will be service style so only one set of clean hands is touching everything. Communion bread is being passed out by gloved members and the wine is in individual cups. 
 

I have a high risk kiddo and we are sitting in the lobby, away from the crowd. I’m also putting a mask on him just because. 
 

It’s important to me that the church body does not fail to gather but it’s also important that we be incredibly wise about it and recognize that humility and love of neighbor includes not creating a dangerous environment. 
 

ETA: we’re about 120 including kids

Edited by sassenach
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Our church is supposed to make a decision tomorrow re: this Sunday. Our governor recommends no gatherings over 100 --  our church is currently less than that so...gray area. Selfishly, DD was supposed to be baptized this Sunday, so I'm hoping we'll make it one more week. 

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I am not going to be going.  I think it will be better for other people.  My husband’s job exposes him to a lot of people.  He works in a large conference room with shared computers and phones, and with people coming and going.... and it is in a basement with no windows, too.  
 

I don’t think it is right for me to go when most others are retired and only go out for church and choir for the most part.  
 

Not even getting into my kids....

We all sit in the same places and I sit near a woman who brings an oxygen tank.  In choir I sit next to someone who had lung problems earlier this year, and another person was in the hospital for pneumonia around Thanksgiving.  

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Baptisms can be done privately with just the priest, and often are, so I don't see why those would be stopped. And confirmation could be postponed, and probably should be. I dont' know that Mass should be canceled, but I think that guidance could be given by the priests as to the wisdom of staying home. 

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Ok, just saw that the Bishop of Lexington Ky has dispensed parishoners from their Sunday obligation. I think that is a wise way to handle it, especially if they are educating their parishoners on the importance of flattening the curve via social distancing. 

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We will be going still, but we're not in a hotspot.  However, our church has its sermons online too, so the staff there is assuming that at some point most (all?) people will be moving over to online services.

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If there’s no need/value for healthy people to go to Mass or even adoration during a “plague”, then I’m not sure what the need/value is when there isn’t a one.

I find it incomprehensible that there is no way at all to manage having mass.

 

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New Rochelle is currently the most concentrated cluster in New York state, and its epicenter has been contact-traced to one synagogue.

My own synagogue is starting services and Torah study by ZOOM videoconferencing this week.

(My whole county is basically shut down.  Municipal authorities started shutting schools down district by district early this week; the libraries and Ys and community centers and theaters all shut down thereafter; and the governor yesterday advised all gatherings > 250 to be canceled and today urged all gatherings >100 to be canceled.)

And this afternoon

 

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North Carolina Episcopal and United Methodist churches are suspending services. I think today is the day people in our state are taking a hard look at the west coast and deciding to try to fend off uncontrolled transmission here.

 

Edited by Carolina Wren
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1 minute ago, Murphy101 said:

If there’s no need/value for healthy people to go to Mass or even adoration during a “plague”, then I’m not sure what the need/value is when there isn’t a one.

I find it incomprehensible that there is no way at all to manage having mass.

 

It isn't that there isn't a need or value for healthy people to go to Mass. It is that people who think they are healthy may actually be carrying a deadly disease that can kill their fellow parishoner, and also that healthy people may pick up a deadly disease while at mass which they bring home to a less healthy family member and kill them. Or that a priest may have it and spread it to hundreds and hundreds of people. 

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3 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

 

 

All this. And I don't mean it lightly. Honestly, churches not having services is kind of the thing tipping me over the "oh wow this is super serious" ledge. But I know the catholic churches here have maybe 500 per service, with standing room only, with 1 on saturday and 4 on sunday already. Even if you add 3 more on Saturday...still not enough and who would do it? And since the virus can live on surfaces, you'd have to have a team sanitizing the pews in between, or you could catch it from an empty pew. And with stores OUT of sanitizing cleaners, out of alcohol, out of nearly everything (I snagged some peroxide when I ordered today, but not at all confident it will actually be delivered), plus no hand sanitizer available, so you can't say, well, use that...it's bad. 

And the priest does "wash" with water before handing out communion, but certainly not for 20 seconds with soap. And of course, the idea of a priest who can't touch you at all..it's very distressing all around. I don't knw what the right answer is, but I think a dispensation for anyone worried about the virus is a good idea. And I agree that it is VERY upsetting when I hear about people who seem to think it makes them holy to show up to church no matter how sick. 

How about Masses where they don’t distribute communion?  Technically, as Catholics you are required to hear Mass on Sundays and Holy days of obligation, but only have to receive communion once per year, during the Easter season.  While most churches have the seemingly obligatory line of people filing up for communion, it isn’t required to receive a every week.  It would protect the priests and the parishioners. 

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19 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

It isn't that there isn't a need or value for healthy people to go to Mass. It is that people who think they are healthy may actually be carrying a deadly disease that can kill their fellow parishoner, and also that healthy people may pick up a deadly disease while at mass which they bring home to a less healthy family member and kill them. Or that a priest may have it and spread it to hundreds and hundreds of people. 


That’s always been possible though. It’s true every flu season.  It’s true every time someone can’t be vaccinated.  It’s true when people are getting cancer treatments, recovering from organ transplants and more.  I guess all those people the rest of the year are an acceptable risk.  A common cold did my mother in after the treatment for cancer left her with basicly no immune system.  There’s millions of people with severely compromised immune systems all year long.  That argument for not offering mass at all is not holding up.

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Just now, Murphy101 said:


That’s always been possible though. It’s true every flu season.  It’s true every time someone can’t be vaccinated.  It’s true when people are getting cancer treatments, recovering from organ transplants and more.  I guess all those people the rest of the year are an acceptable risk.  A common cold did my mother in after the treatment for cancer left her with basicly no immune system.  There’s millions of people with severely compromised immune systems all year long.  That argument for not offering mass at all is not holding up.

If we can slow the spread of Covid-19 through social distancing we can potentially save thousands or even millions of lives--by not having it spread exponentially through the population and overwhelm our medical system.

We haven't in our lifetime seen a widespread, novel illness as severe as this. The fact that it is new to the entire population of the world means it can spread faster and farther than common illnesses like the flu, which many people have acquired at least partial immunity to through previous exposure or vaccination.

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I would find it acceptable to only offer mass once a month and have 24 hour adoration available.

In fact, in crisis, I would totally understand that due to the high number of funerals or anointing of the sick, or maybe higher numbers of confessions requested, the priests have to reduce the number of masses offered. 

That is completely different kettle from a preemptive shuttering. 

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1 hour ago, Murphy101 said:

If there’s no need/value for healthy people to go to Mass or even adoration during a “plague”, then I’m not sure what the need/value is when there isn’t a one.

I find it incomprehensible that there is no way at all to manage having mass.

 

Here's how they're doing it in Rome (although I think these people are standing too close to each other, frankly):

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-italy-rome-churche/rome-catholic-churches-ordered-closed-due-to-coronavirus-unprecedented-in-modern-times-idUSKBN20Z3BU

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45 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

That is completely different kettle from a preemptive shuttering. 

Have you read any of the accounts from Italian hospitals?  People are being left in the hallways to die because some hospitals are operating at 200+% capacity and there are simply no rooms or medical supplies to go around.  Doctors and nurses and lay people and anyone else that can be pressed into service are caring for the sick around the clock until they themselves almost inevitably get sick (because masks and other safety equipment are in short supply) and then they are (hopefully) out of commission for 14 days unless they are part of the not insignificant percentage that die.

Now is the only chance we are going to get to delay the spread and impact of the disease here.  And every single day we can delay the spread is going to save countless lives.  Most of us are going to get sick eventually, a certain percentage will require hospitalization, and of those some will needs intensive ICU care.  I think that is pretty much a given, so all we can do now is try to control how many of those patients will need medical services at the same time.  In countries and regions with adequate medical facilities, the fatality rate of COVID is around 1%.  That pales in comparison to the fatality rate in country's whose medical infrastructure is overwhelmed past the breaking point and therefore is offering subpar care to the sick.

If one contagious person, who isn't even showing any symptoms yet, attends a large church gathering, they can easily spread the virus to hundreds of people which will quickly becomes thousands as each goes about their daily lives.  Within days hospitals can be inundated and brought to their knees.  OTOH, if people avoid all large gatherings and self-isolate as much as possible, then we can slow the spread of the disease and the hospitalizations and ensure that everyone receives the best possible care and that the fatality rate is kept as low as possible.

Wendy

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