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Statement from Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi

The Archdiocese of Mobile comprises the Catholic churches and ministries in the southern half of Alabama. We are aware that our world, our nation, and our communities are coping with the covid-19 pandemic. All of us are called to be concerned for our personal welfare and that of our neighbors. This will entail sacrifice. I ask that we pray for our own protection and for those who suffer from ill health. It is also important that we cooperate with civil and health authorities.

Therefore, effective Wednesday, March 18, the following steps are to be taken in the Archdiocese of Mobile. These norms are effective through Sunday, April 5, 2020, but may be extended depending upon future developments.

Catholic Social Services facilities throughout southern Alabama serve approximately 25,000 of our neighbors in need. These services will continue in the following manner:

Emergency Assistance Ministries at our Social Service Centers will remain open providing food for families and individuals, clothing, and help with rent and utility bills. However, applications for this help will be received only by phone. Food and clothing will be distributed at the door and not within the Service Center.

All Thrift Stores will close but clothing will be available for those in need through Emergency Assistance.

Counseling for individuals and families will continue to be available but only by phone.

Parishes may continue to provide food whether from food pantries or kitchens, but only on a takeout basis and not within a building. Other than takeout food, all other parish and school activities and meetings are cancelled.

This includes all worship services. No member of the laity or clergy may conduct a worship service or a devotion of any kind in a church, or other location. I am strongly requesting that our churches remain open for prayer but without services.

Funerals, with or without Mass, will not be celebrated in churches or in any other location. Only graveside services are permitted.

Weddings, only without Mass, may be conducted in a church building but solely with a cleric, bride and groom, two witnesses, and parents of the bride and groom present. No one else may be present.

Confessions may continue but only with a screen separating the priest and penitent or in an arrangement with six feet space between the priest and the penitent.

Baptisms may be celebrated but only with the parents, godparents, and one cleric present.

Holy Water fonts are to be emptied and cleaned.

Although we will not gather for worship, we remain united in Christ. I am confident that our dedicated clergy will continue to serve the spiritual and material needs of neighbor. I particularly request that the clergy be present to the sick and those who suffer difficulties. I ask the people of our Archdiocese to please pray. Even if we cannot receive Holy Communion we can join ourselves with the love of God. Prayer is powerful and I request that we pray even more fervently during these challenging days.

May God bless all of us.

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