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Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis suspends mass amid COVID-19 outbreak

The cancellations are happening as Catholics observe Lent.

Catholic masses in the Twin Cities are cancelled for the next two weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

According to a letter from Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda on Wednesday, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will suspend all services effective immediately. The decision will be reevaluated in two weeks.

Limited exceptions will be made for weddings and funerals, given they comply with specific guidelines.

In his decision, Hebda cited another U.S. diocese in which an active priest tested positive for the virus and potentially put parish members at risk.

“Given both the moral impossibility of attending Mass, as well as the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass that was extended to the faithful of the Archdiocese last week, please rest assured that the missing of Mass in these conditions should not weigh on your conscience,” Hebda’s letter reads.

Hebda also encouraged parishes to explore remote ways to participate in mass. This announcement comes as Catholics around the world observe Lent, which began on Feb. 26 and will go through April 9.

Catholic dioceses around the world have suspended masses as COVID-19 continues to spread. Italy, Peru, France, Spain, Canada, Belgium and other countries have all seen cancelled masses, according to Catholic News Service.

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