The Star-Herald

Bishop suspends Masses, offers spiritual resources

PORTLAND, Maine — With attention to the guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and upon consideration of the size of the usual congregations, Bishop Robert P. Deeley is temporarily suspending all 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. There are nearly 300,000 self-identifying Catholics and 141 active Catholic churches in Maine.

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.

“To aid us in preserving those bonds in a time of crisis, we will gather online and by way of social media,” said Dave Guthro, communications director for the diocese. 

The bishop began on March 22 celebrating a Mass from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland each Sunday at 10 a.m. which will be live-streamed at both www.portlanddiocese.org and www.facebook.com/PortlandDiocese

“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.”

He added it is important that parishioners continue support their parishes so they can continue to serve.

 “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,” the bishop aaid.

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.”

The diocese also offers these online options.

Viewers can visit www.ladyofhopemaine.org and participate in Masses from St. Pius X Church in Portland on Mondays through Fridays at 9 a.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m., and Sundays at 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. The parish has added an additional livestreamed Mass at 7 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.  

Viewers can visit www.facebook.com/ParishOfTheHolyEucharist and participate in Masses from Holy Martyrs Church in Falmouth on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 5:30 p.m.; Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m.; Saturdays at 4 p.m.; and Sundays at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 5:30 p.m.

Viewers can visit https://stpaulbangor.me/watch-mass-live or www.facebook.com/StPaulBangor and participate in Masses from St. Mary Church in Bangor on Mondays through Fridays at 8:30 a.m. and Sundays at 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. They can also participate in Masses from St. John Church in Bangor on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m.

Daily Mass will be offered from Bishop Barron’s chapel at 8:15 a.m. each day. www.wordonfire.org/daily-mass.

Television network EWTN offers daily Masses at 8 a.m. and noon, seven days a week, and at 7 p.m. every day but Sunday. The Masses are broadcast over the air and online (www.ewtn.com/tv/watch-live).

CatholicTV also broadcasts Masses at 9:30 a.m. each day over the air and online (www.catholictv.org/masses/catholictv-mass). 

For radio options, listeners can tune in on Relevant Radio to participate in Masses each day at 1 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. as well as Sundays at 10 a.m. The network is available on 106.7 FM in Portland, 105.7 FM in Springvale/Sanford, 97.5 FM in Fort Kent, 90.3 FM in Bangor, 89.7 FM in Bath/Brunswick, 89.5 FM in Augusta, and 1390 AM in northern Maine. People can listen online at www.relevantradio.com/listen downloading the Relevant Radio app to their smartphones.

Other resources offering free spiritual helps include Give Us This Day at www.giveusthisday.org/digital; https://us.magnificat.net/free, www.usccb.org/bible/readings and www.catholiccurrent.org/covid19.

“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.

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