On March 16, Bishop Burbidge announced via a video message that until further notice, all public celebrations of the Mass are canceled throughout the Diocese.
Bishop Burbidge has asked pastors to keep churches open to the public, so that those who choose to pray, are welcome to do so in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord, while keeping a safe distance from one another and not exceeding the 10-person limit.
With public celebrations of the Sunday Mass canceled, the faithful are encouraged to devote time to prayer, observe Mass on television or the internet, and pray the Rosary along with other devotions.
The Diocese co-sponsors a televised Sunday Mass with the Archdiocese of Washington. It takes place at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington and is available at 10:30am on Sundays on two local TV stations as well as online. Go to ArlingtonDiocese.org/TVMass for more information or to view the Mass.
Diocesan Catholic School Response:
Diocesan Catholic schools have canceled all school-sponsored international travel through June 30, 2020. All domestic overnight travel from March 11 through May 1, 2020, is canceled.
With regard to school closures, schools are following Governor Ralph Northams’s directive to close for the following two weeks. Those closures are in effect through Friday, March 27. Some counties have announced closures that extend beyond the Governor’s mandate, and our schools will follow the dates of closure in the jurisdiction they normally follow for weather related closures.
On Monday, March 16, all Diocesan Catholic Schools had a pre-planned closure for teacher in-service training. Educators used that day to further ensure their readiness to shift into an e-learning environment with students.
Catholic Charities is actively coordinating with each of its 20 programs and 16 stand-alone locations to ensure that critical services to the poor and vulnerable are delivered consistent with guidelines and best practices prescribed by the CDC relating to the coronavirus. Volunteers and clients should consult with the Catholic Charities website for program updates and when-to-stay-home guidance.
All expert opinion highlights the critical need to wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible; and covering your mouth with a tissue or sleeve (not your hands) when sneezing or coughing.
Diocese of Arlington leadership is coordinating actively with public health officials. We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis and will take additional measures as circumstances change.