Out of an “extreme measure of caution” because of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne on Wednesday ordered all parishes in the Archdiocese of Seattle “to suspend public celebration of the Eucharist.”
The Archdiocese of Seattle includes 170 parishes in Western Washington, and covers masses celebrated at Catholic churches in Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.
The directive is effective immediately and comes on the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee’s order prohibiting gatherings of 250 people or more in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
“I want to acknowledge the best science that is out there, that basically says despite our best efforts, this epidemic is going to continue to spread,” the archbishop said. “That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be doing everything we possibly can to restrict the spread of this virus, of this epidemic.”
Even though public celebration of Mass is suspended, “every priest has an obligation to celebrate the Eucharist every day and certainly I want our priests to continue to do that,” the archbishop said. “And I want all of us to continue to pray for our efforts and the efforts of so many others to care for the sick and to slow down the spread of this virus.”
He asked everyone to practice good hygiene measures, care for loved ones and check in on those who are homebound.
“Let’s continue to reach out, let’s continue to show our love and our care and concern for one another,” Etienne said.
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