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COVID-19 Press Release

COVID-19 Update: Supreme Court Ruling


Late on November 25, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion in the case of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York vs. Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York. The 5 to 4 decision pertains to the state’s ability to restrict capacity in houses of worship.

See: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/20a87_4g15.pdf

In keeping with the Diocese’s priority to mitigate risk of infection and protect those most vulnerable, parishes must continue to:

  • Follow all CDC guidelines and advice of medical professionals, including continuing to observe six foot physical distance;
  • Continue to require the use of face masks at all liturgies and follow other well-established diocesan policies for the celebration of Masses.

Individual parish capacity will be determined by the size of the worship space and the required social distance requirements. The dispensation regarding the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and other Days of Holy Obligation is still effect. Those wishing to attend liturgy in person are obligated to maintain six feet social distance from others while in attendance.

The Diocese’s guidelines for parishes can be found at:http://www.buffalodiocese.org/coronavirus

Apostollic Administrator Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger welcomes this ruling.  “We have an obligation to do everything we can to protect one another from the threat that the coronavirus poses.  At the same time, we welcome this decision that upholds the First Amendment’s ‘free exercise’ clause.  Food and drink for the soul are as essential as food and drink for the stomach.”

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