PORTLAND---With attention to the guidance from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and upon consideration of the size of the usual congregations, Bishop Robert P. Deeley is temporarily suspending all public daily and Sunday Masses and religious services throughout the Diocese of Portland (covering the entire state of Maine), effective immediately. The bishop is also issuing a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for Maine Catholics during this time.
In anticipation of questions which might arise, baptisms, funerals, and weddings, including with Mass, may continue but only with immediate family present for the Mass.
The Mass is our prayer of thanksgiving and praise to God for his many blessings. It is also our graced opportunity to strengthen one another in faith and hope. To aid us in preserving those bonds in a time of crisis, we will gather online and by way of social media. Starting this Sunday, March 22, Bishop Deeley will celebrate a Mass from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland each Sunday at 10 a.m. Although not open to the public, the Mass will be live-streamed at both www.portlanddiocese.org and www.facebook.com/PortlandDiocese. Additional options and resources to participate in Masses from home are listed below.
“These are unprecedented circumstances,” said Bishop Deeley. “I join with many bishops across the country in making this decision in response to the continuing threat of COVID-19. In this diocese, our parishes are places of welcome where all can encounter Jesus, but they must also be communities that look after the most vulnerable among us. Temporarily suspending Masses will help to ensure the safety of our older parishioners and our priests, particularly those who are also among the most vulnerable.”
Although we are unable to attend Mass in person, it is important that we continue to support our parishes as best we can, so that they can continue to serve the faithful throughout this crisis and long after it’s over.
“Please remember that your parish communities depend on the offertory collections and will need your support going forward to carry on the mission of the Church,” said Bishop Deeley.
Parishioners can continue to support their local parish through the WeShare online giving option. Parishioners can find a direct link to their parish account at www.portlanddiocese.org/OnlineGiving.
“I want to assure all of you that we, your priests, are spiritually united to you as each of us offers Mass each day,” said Bishop Deeley. “Please remember that in a time that can instill fear and anxiety, we, as Catholics are guided by our faith in the peace that comes from the love that God shows us in Jesus, who comes to be with us, to strengthen us from whatever weakness we may be experiencing or whatever illness may be afflicting us.”
In addition to Bishop Deeley’s celebration of Mass, there are many other ways to participate in Masses on several platforms. To see a list (which will be continually updated), visit www.portlanddiocese.org/content/response-coronavirus.
“We pray for all those affected by the novel coronavirus, those in the service of providing health care, and the common good,” said Bishop Deeley. “May we find strength in the community the Lord gives us. May it remind us of His presence in our lives. And may we always know that trusting in the Lord Jesus will help us bring God’s mercy and love into the world through our care for one another.”
A public announcement will be made when the temporary suspension of Masses concludes.