3/13 Coronavirus Tracker: School closures, Mass suspensions

This article appears in the Coronavirus Tracker feature series. View the full series.

Welcome to NCR's Coronavirus Tracker, where you can find the latest news about the coronavirus pandemic as it relates to the Catholic Church and other institutions. We hope you find it useful in navigating these complex times and welcome your suggestions for how we might improve it. To receive the Coronavirus Tracker by email each weekday afternoon, sign up here.

Cardinal Authorizes Temporary Suspension of Mass in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

March 13, 2020

  • Cardinal Sean O'Malley suspends all daily and Sunday Masses and religious services in the Archdiocese of Boston until further notice.

CSP suspends activities due to coronavirus

March 12, 2020

  • The Community of Saint Peter has suspended all scheduled activites until further notice. 

NCEA cancels 2020 convention

March 13, 2020

  • The National Catholic Education Association announced it will officially cancel its 2020 convention and expo.

Mercy to open drive-through coronavirus testing site in Chesterfield

March 13, 2020
By Annika Merrilees, STLtoday.com

  • Mercy Hospital in St. Louis to open a testing station.

Chicago Archdiocese Closes All Catholic Schools Due To Coronavirus Concerns

March 13, 2020
CBS Chicago

  • The schools will close starting March 16. It is not yet determined how long the closure will last. 

Big St. Patrick's Day parades canceled this year amid coronavirus fears

March 13, 2020
By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service

  • Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Cleveland, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Washington and more have called off the parades.

Maryland closes schools, bans large gatherings as coronavirus shutdown expands

March 13, 2020
By Darran Simon, Erin Cox and Laura Vozzella, The Washington Post

  • The Washington Archdiocese announced it would close 93 Catholic schools in the District and its Maryland suburbs, and suspend public celebrations of Mass in church indefinitely.

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here's what's happening Friday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

March 13, 2020
By Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune

  • Catholic school closes after student tests positive for coronavirus. Catholic archdiocese allows anyone 60 and over to stay away from Mass.

As Catholic Churches In Rome Close, Religions Grapple With How To Balance Faith With Coronavirus Concerns

March 12, 2020
By Carlie Porterfield, Forbes

  • Forbes rounds up how various religious institutions around the world are reacting to the coronavirus, from Rome to Saudi Arabia to New York. 

Diocese of Little Rock suspends Mass

March 12, 2020

  • Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock sends letter to diocese suspending Masses through Holy Week.

Pope: Governments need prayers to make hard decisions for common good

March 12, 2020
By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

  • Celebrating Mass, Pope Francis asked people to pray for government officials and leaders tasked with making decisions to respond to the crisis.

Catholic Health Association urges action to support vulnerable individuals impacted by the pandemic

March 12, 2020

  • In a press release, the Catholic Health Association of the United States is urging lawmakers to act quickly on legislation to protect the health and economic well-being of individuals, their families and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Catholic colleges adapt to online format during coronavirus

March 12, 2020
By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service

  • As of March 11, dozens of Catholic college and university leaders had announced plans to cancel public classes and offer online education, in line with a trend of more than 100 schools across the country.


A tourist wearing a protective mask visits Milan's famed cathedral, commonly referred to as the "Duomo," as it reopened to the public March 2, 2020, for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak. (CNS/Reuters/Yara Nardi)

Editorial: Coronavirus, uncertainty and the unseen put world on hold

March 12, 2020
By NCR Editorial Staff, National Catholic Reporter

  • "At a time when the common good becomes paramount and the only entity large enough to accommodate that good is government, we are left to the bumbling of an administration committed to crude diminishment of institutions and to demeaning the role of government."

How churches are trying to keep parishioners safe as the coronavirus spreads

March 12, 2020
By Emily Todd VanDerWerff, Vox

  • Vox explains the steps local churches are taking to protect its members.

Governor urges churches to cancel services due to virus

March 12, 2020
By Bruce Chreiner, The Associated Press

  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear urged churches to cancel worship services. The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville both announced March 11 students would switch to online instruction after spring break.

Coronavirus is a physical and spiritual threat

March 12, 2020
By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

  • "In a globalized world, pandemics must be expected and planned for. When this crisis is over, we cannot go back to sleep and ignore the best advice from scientists and experts."

Catholic leaders urge Congress to act on escalating coronavirus crisis

March 12, 2020
By Kevin Clarke, America

  • Catholic leaders from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Health Association dispatched letters to Congress urging swift action on an emergency national response. 

From Seattle to Kentucky, Churches Cancel Religious Services

March 12, 2020
By Sarah Mervosh and Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times

  • Effective immediately, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle suspended all public celebration of Mass.

Mass Will Continue for Boston's Catholics, But Coronavirus Brings Changes

March 12, 2020
By Asher Klein, NBC10 Boston

  • Communion will be placed in Catholics' hands, not placed on their tongues, and holy water fonts will be emptied and cleaned.

Pray and wash: Religion joins with science amid virus crisis

March 12, 2020
By Elana Schor, The Associated Press

  • Amid canceled services, religious leaders take up another task: communicating a message that elevates both faith and science.

Archdiocese of Cincinnati anounces school closures

March 12, 2020

  • Beginning at the end of day on March 16 through April 3, 2020, archdiocesan schools will be closed in cooperation with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine's direction. 

Trenton bishop grants dispensation from obligation to attend Mass, does not close churches

Diocese of Trenton
March 12, 2020

  • "As Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, I am NOT instructing that parish churches be closed or weekend Masses be canceled in the Diocese of Trenton. All weekend Masses should be celebrated as regularly scheduled."

WEBINAR: Pax Romana on COVID-19

March 12, 2020
By Kevin Ahern, Pax Romana

  • Lay Catholic leaders from Hong Kong and Italy discuss the impact of the coronavirus on their lives, young people, politics and the church.

'Catholics for Trump' event in Milwaukee postponed because of coronavirus and will be rescheduled

March 11, 2020
By Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • President Donald Trump's campaign has postponed the "Catholics for Trump" event that was scheduled for March 19 in Milwaukee.

Beverly Hills priest diagnosed with coronavirus; Pasadena sees first case

March 11, 2020
By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

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