CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Mark Brennan says plans are underway to resume Mass as the process of reopening the state continues. However, no official date to resume has been given.
Brennan says Eugene Ostrowski, vicar general for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston,
and a committee of religious and lay leaders are working on recommendations to
safely resume the public celebration of the Mass.
“The Governor has laid out a series of specific guidelines that must be followed in order to safely
resume the public celebration of Mass in Churches across the state after the stay at home order is
lifted,” Brennan says. “While respecting our public officials’ norms, we are developing
our plan for the resumption of public Masses on the basis of Catholic liturgical practice and
Church law as well as with an abundance of caution to preserve the health and safety of our
people and their priests.”
Brennan also says those who are elderly or considered high risk by health officials are encouraged to remain home and continue watching Masses on television or via live stream as a safety precaution.
Ostrowski says the committee will compile the norms which will then be sent to parishes. The parishes will then submit an action plan which must be approved by the bishop before public
Masses can resume. This will include ensuring proper social distancing, limiting the number of people allowed in the church at one time, asking those who are ill to stay home, maintaining proper hygiene and making hand sanitizer available, requiring those in attendance to wear a mask and sanitizing surfaces following each Mass.
“There are a great number of challenges to safely gather our faithful in Churches throughout the
State,” Ostrowski says. “It is prudent for us to do so in the safest manner possible. This
committee is determined to ensure the health and safety of the Catholic faithful as well as our
priests. Doing so fulfills Christ’s command to love our neighbor.”
Officials at the Diocese also said that the live stream of daily and weekend Masses will continue
post-quarantine on its website, dwc.org/mass.