Statement of the Most Reverend Christopher J. Coyne in Response to COVID-19
Many have contacted the administrative offices of the Diocese of Burlington with questions, suggestions and/or demands regarding how the Church in its various agencies — parishes, chapels, schools, charitable agencies and residence housing — should respond to the present crisis brought on by COVID-19. I thank those who have done so in a spirit of charity and concern for the welfare of others and for the common good of all. I offer the following two points in response:
- The Catholic Church is part of the greater community of Vermont. We are not separate from that community. We live as believers seeking to serve the common good. As such, our response to the challenges of the COVID-19 virus will be guided by local, state and public health experts. So, for example, if a local school system is shut down because of the virus, any Catholic school in that district would close as well. If the state directs that no public gatherings of people should take place for the foreseeable future, then the public celebrations of the Church’s liturgy, including Mass, would be suspended. In this way, each parish or school follows similar protocols with every other parish or Catholic school.
- Pursuant to my recent statements on the celebration of Mass during the COVID-19 crisis, let me reiterate once again that older and elderly adults as well as Catholics from vulnerable populations are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. I encourage those who stay home to watch Mass on TV or online. As parishes still have bills to pay, I ask you to continue to support financially your parish through the mail or online giving.
For the latest updates please visit: vermontcatholic.org/covid-19