Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles closing churches due to coronavirus

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The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles Tuesday announced that all churches will be closed to the public until at least April 19 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"Our community of faith is fully committed to doing all we can to limit the spread of this global public health threat,” Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said, according to The Los Angeles Daily News. “We are taking these extraordinary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the faithful and the public, as well as all who continue to serve in our parishes and ministries."

Chapels, centers, missions and church offices will also be closed to the public and pastors will only be allowed a limited number of staff members to continue their work at the office.

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St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Los Angeles will be closed until at least April 19 along with every other church in the diocese amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Los Angeles will be closed until at least April 19 along with every other church in the diocese amid the coronavirus outbreak.  (Google Maps)

The archdiocese earlier this month lifted parishioners’ obligation to attend Sunday mass through the end of March and encouraged those who couldn’t attend “to stay home and read the gospels, pray with your families and to join yourself to the sacrifice of the Mass by making an act of spiritual communion.”

Thousands attended virtual masses last Sunday via TV broadcasts and internet livestreams, the Daily News reported.

Many churches in the area either livecast mass or post it on their website or social media.

Priests may use a cotton swab or other instrument instead of their hand to anoint the sick under the archdiocese's guidelines and must cancel all Lenten penance services and regularly scheduled confession times.

Parishes are also encouraged to ring the bells at noon and 6 p.m. “as a sign of solidarity and hope.”

“The current public health pandemic continues to bring about fears and anxiety in the hearts and minds of many people. However, it has also unified us as a people seeking the good for the other,” the archdiocese said.

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“Now more than ever, we must continue to anchor our hearts and minds in the abiding truth of God’s love for us, His sons and daughters," the archdiocese said. "We remain strong in faith knowing that God will be with us always and to ensure the people of God that we, as a Church, still are very much present, even if we have adapted the way our parishes operate in these times.”