Bishop says Catholic churches in the Valley will reopen Monday

Bishop Daniel E. Flores and other church officials conduct the Easter Mass Sunday for worshipers at home watching the livestream at Immaculate Conception Cathedral.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

Bishop Daniel E. Flores, of the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, announced Friday that Catholic churches across the Rio Grande Valley will reopen on Monday, May 25, but with a number of conditions.

In a letter, the bishop said anyone attending Mass will be required to wear a face mask, parishioners will be required to disinfect their hands as they enter and leave the churches; and social distancing will be observed.

He said every other pew will be used for seating and there will be a distance of six feet between families and individuals. Because of restrictive seating, the bishop says attendance at Mass will be limited to less than 50%.

The bishop says he is encouraging parishioners to attend weekday services in order to alleviate the capacity of Sunday masses. He said the diocese will continue to livestream services for those unable to attend Mass.

“I have indicated to the pastors that they have the authority to judge if in their particular parish they are ready with sufficient supplies and volunteers to open the church for public Masses. If a particular parish is not ready to implement the necessary protocols, they should not open until they are. In addition, some parishes may find it necessary to readjust the Mass schedule to allow enough time for the work of disinfecting the church after every Mass,” the bishop said.

He said there will be special instructions in order to receive communion.

The bishop is urging the elderly, those who complicated medical conditions, or anyone who feels sick, to stay home.