BY Ryan McDougall | March 18 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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BREAKING: Scottish bishops suspend all public Masses due to coronavirus outbreak

The Bishops' Conference of Scotland has announced that no public Masses will be celebrated in Scotland as the coronavirus continues to spread from Thursday March 19.

In an unprecedented move, the bishop said priests will continue to celebrate Mass in private, praying for those suffering from the illness and those who care for them.

Churches are to remain open for personal prayer and parish priests have been asked to welcome individuals who are seeking consolation and encouragement from the Lord.

Priests will also be available for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion as and when they are needed, particularly for the sick and the housebound.

The bishops have asked that only close family attend baptisms, funeral Masses and weddings.

In a pastoral letter released this morning, bishops asked Catholics to ‘pray for the sick, those caring for them, for those in positions of responsibility with difficult decisions to make, indeed for our whole country and the entire human family.’

They added: “Most of all, we are being asked to put our trust in the living God who has created everything to be and to flourish and whose providence guides the course of world events. We put our trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, and the true physician of our souls and bodies.”

The bishops’ statement encouraged Catholics where possible to access online live-streamed Masses from local parishes that have the facility available. The bishops advice that Holy Week liturgies may be curtailed but ask Catholics to remain together in spirit and in prayer and to join with all Scotland’s churches in a National Day of Prayer this Sunday March 22, Mothering Sunday, to pray for our country and our world in this time of need.

Parishes across Scotland were also due to host a collection for the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), which has also been cancelled. However, the bishops encouraged Catholics to give generously online instead via www.sciaf.org.uk

The bishops concluded: “As Government advice changes, we will update our guidance accordingly in the hope of restoring the public celebration of Mass.

“In the meantime, please ensure that no one feels abandoned in our communities and do what you can in practical terms to help those who are alone. We entrust all of you, especially those already afflicted by the virus and all health care professionals, to the care of Our Lady of Lourdes, Health of the Sick.”

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