HELENA — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena has suspended all public masses and other gatherings until further notice to help safeguard the health of everyone.
Bishop Austin Vetter made the announcement earlier Tuesday and will maintain contact with government and health officials to monitor the situation.
“We’ve never had to do this before, at least in recent times, where we’ve had to make real drastic changes to our daily routine,” said Bishop Vetter in a video message to the public. “That affects us as people of faith as well. I just want you to know of my prayer and encouragement to all of you.”
No public masses will be held, and members of the church are not obligated to participate in a mass. Baptisms are postponed unless it is an emergency and weddings are also postponed unless celebrated with the couple and only two witnesses.
Funerals may be celebrated, but only with members of the immediate family.
Bishop Vetter will regularly celebrate live-streamed masses and encourages people to be creative with their worship while stuck at home.
“Take those little acts of faith, those little acts of prayer for the strength that we all need during these next days, weeks, months,” said Bishop Vetter. “We beg God to guide those doctors and researchers to find a solution to this pandemic.”
More information and updates will be posted on the Diocese website.