The Diocese of Venice in Florida has suspended all Masses and other religious events held in Catholic churches within the diocese, effective Friday through at least April 12, which is Easter. Visitation to churches for prayer has also been suspended, according to a statement the diocese released Thursday.
The diocese’s bishop, Rev. Frank J. Dewane, announced the decision in a letter Wednesday. While the suspensions are in place, members of and visitors to the diocese are not obligated to attend weekly Mass. The situation will be re-evaluated after Easter. Those who wish to view Mass may do so on the diocese’s website. Those in Sarasota and Manatee counties can also view mass on CW at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays.
“Do recall that Faithful Catholics, throughout the history of the Church, have kept the faith alive through trying times,” Dewane said in his letter. “By prayer and devotion, as well as spiritual solidarity with each other, the life of faith continued to be a source of strength and perseverance during persecutions and other times of public crisis. Tomorrow [March 19], on the Feast of St. Joseph, I will dedicate the Diocese of Venice to the care of the Foster Father of Jesus.”
The Diocese of Venice includes Sarasota and Manatee counties, as well as eight others.