Watch live: Church leaders address decision to reopen against Gov. Walz order

In a letter to partner churches, Catholic leaders said Mass can resume at one-third capacity.
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Christ the Good Shepherd, The Cathedral of St. Paul

Leaders of the Archdiocese of St. Paul are set to provide a statement and answer questions from the media at a briefing 3 p.m. Thursday outside the Archdiocesan Catholic Center in St. Paul. 

Speaking will be Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens, as they'll address the decision announced Wednesday that provided its Catholic churches in Minnesota to reopen in limited capacity so long as COVID-19 safety measures are implemented. 

The decision does not comply with Gov. Tim Walz's order that prohibits church and worship services from gathering in groups larger than 10 people, be it an indoor or outdoor service. 

You can watch the briefing live on the Archdiocese's Facebook page, or in the video below. 

Archbishop Hebda posted a letter Wednesday giving approval to Catholic churches to resume serving parishioners beginning Tuesday, May 26, which is five days before the Christian holiday of Pentacost on Sunday, May 31. 

"Parishes will be required to follow the strict protocols we have published for sanitation and social distancing and will have to limit attendance to one-third of the seating capacity of the church," the letter says. 

The letter is signed by the Bishops of New Ulm, Crookston, Winona-Rochester, St. Paul and Minneapolis, St. Cloud and Duluth. 

The office of Gov. Walz confirmed to Bring Me The News that the governor will meet with the Archdiocese this week, with support in the meeting being provided by the Minnesota Department of Health. It's not clear when that meeting will take place. 

The Minnesota South District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod also announced that it has notified its partner Minnesota churches that "they may begin to reopen on Tuesday, May 26, with the first Sunday worship services occurring on Pentecost Sunday, May 31."

The synod's message to Gov. Walz adds: "Now that you have deemed it safe to reopen non-critical businesses in Minnesota, we believe that the essential business of caring for the spiritual needs of our flocks with in-person meetings must also resume in a limited capacity." 

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