Organizations throughout archdiocese take precautions by canceling or postponing events, classes
Mar 11, 2020
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, which was officially announced by the World Health Organization on March 11, many upcoming events within the Archdiocese of Washington have been cancelled or postponed.
The first case of coronavirus was reported in the Washington, D.C. area on March 5, since then more than 30 cases have also been reported. The District of Columbia Department of Health recommended on March 11 that organizations cancel or postpone all non-essential mass gatherings, including conferences and conventions, at least until March 31. A mass gathering is defined as any group of more than 1,000 people coming together. District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser declared both a state of emergency and a public health emergency on March 11.
Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory announced in a statement on March 12 that public Masses at all churches within the Archdiocese of Washington will be suspended beginning March 14 until further notice. The archbishop has granted a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays to all parishioners of the Archdiocese of Washington.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will suspend the celebration of Mass and Confession beginning March 14. The noon Sunday Mass will be accessible to all via livestream through their website, nationalshrine.org. The basilica will remain open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for private prayer.
The Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington will close beginning March 14. The staff at the Shrine is hoping to live stream daily Mass and prayer at the Hour of Mercy, including the Divine Mercy Chaplet, via the Saint John Paul II National Shrine YouTube channel.
On March 11, Trinity Washington University announced that for now, classes would be continuing to be offered on schedule there, while precautions are being taken to mitigate any possible exposure to the coronavirus.
Archbishop Gregory announced March 12 that all Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington will close from March 16 to March 27, following the direction of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., will move all classes online beginning March 16, suspending campus instruction until further notice. The University of Maryland will conduct a similar change, bringing learning online from March 30 to April 10. The Catholic University of America is moving classes online until March 30.
The Archdiocese of Washington's Saint John Paul II Seminary has extended its spring break through March 20.
For a list of Catholic high schools in the archdiocese's plans for online learning and class cancellations, see here.
Community event cancellations and postponements
The Archdiocese's Lenten Holy Hour for the Mission’s with nearly 500 Catholic school children, originally scheduled for March 11, was postponed.
The 2020 Peace and Justice Conference, a joint conference with the Diocese of Arlington scheduled for March 14 has been postponed.
Potomac Community Resources' Patricia Sullivan Benefit Dinner scheduled for March 14, has been postponed.
The St. Patrick’s Parade in Washington, D.C., scheduled for March 15, has been postponed.
The seafood dinner at Holy Angels Church in Avenue, Maryland, scheduled for March 22 has been cancelled.
The College Fair scheduled for March 23 at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland, has been cancelled.
DCCatholic’s April Theology on Tap, scheduled for April 14, will switch topics from a live panel to a trivia night.
The Catholic University of America’s Theology on Tap on xx has been cancelled.
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