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Archdiocese of San Antonio suspends public mass services, all Catholic schools

Faith leaders say the decree will "remain in effect until revoked."
Credit: KENS
The community, as well as church leaders from across Texas and the U.S., converged in San Antonio on Tuesday, January 17 to honor the life of Archbishop Patrick Flores after his passing.

SAN ANTONIO — Calling it an effort to be proactive rather than reactive to the fluid coronavirus outbreak situation, officials with the Archdiocese of San Antonio are suspending public mass in all churches beginning March 14, "except for small groups at the discretion of the pastor."

Additionally, all schools within the archdiocese will undergo remote teaching beginning March 23 while facilities shut down through April 3. Other extracurricular events – including athletics practices, athletic events and fine arts performances – will be suspended. 

Parents of students who attend schools within the archdiocese can expect to receive more details of individual schools' plans. 

In addition, "non-essential gatherings" at churches are cancelled or postponed for the rest of March, including religious education classes. According to the archdiocese's statement, funerals will continue to take place "with awareness of congregation size."

Churches won't be totally closed off while the decree is in effect. The archdiocese says they will remain open and accessible during the day "for private prayer and Eucharistic Adoration." 

The decree comes after San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Friday morning announced an order limiting gatherings of 500 or more people in the Alamo City for the short-term. 

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller says the archdiocese's decree "remains in effect until revoked," adding he will continue to consult with other faith leaders and health officials in the meantime. 

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