Citing the need for Catholics in the Diocese of Dallas to be at peace and to avoid conflicted consciences, Bishop Edward J. Burns has decreed that, effective immediately, all public Masses in the Dallas diocese are cancelled until March 30, 2020. The Bishop also said that all Catholic schools are closed at least until March 27, 2020, and that schools will move to e-learning or remote learning. Religious education classes at the parishes are cancelled as well.
Saying it was not an easy decision to make, Bishop Burns explained why he believed he needed to take the action, “I recognize that I had the option of simply dispensing of the obligation to attend mass and continue to have the Masses celebrated, but knowing my flock, and knowing their steadfastness in faith, many of them would continue to come to mass and it would result in significant numbers even in light of the guidelines set forth by government officials."
He went on to say, “In order for all the Catholic faithful to be at peace and to live without any anxiety as well as to remove any conflicted conscience of whether or not they should attend mass these days, as the shepherd of the diocese and out of affection for the faithful, I make this decision so that they may remain healthy and strong.” Bishop Burns said he made the decision after an emergency meeting of the Priest council of the Diocese of Dallas in which members unanimously supported the move.
Bishop Burns encourages Catholics to use this time for prayer and reflection. He had previously recommended reflecting on the Sunday Mass readings which can be found at www.cathdal.org/readings, or, viewing Mass online such as those livestreamed from the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe at 9 a.m.in English and 10:30 a.m. in Spanish every Sunday. Visit www.youtube.com/dallascath to view the livestreams. Another option is the daily Mass televised on EWTN.
The Diocese of Dallas is among numerous major Archdioceses and dioceses around the country making the decision to temporarily cancel all public Masses and close schools due to COVID-19 including Chicago, Boston, Washington, Seattle, Santa Fe and Little Rock.
See the full statement and decree from Bishop Burns at cathdal.org.precautions.