My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
Blessings and peace be with you!
I want to provide you with our most recent diocesan updates regarding the
Today, Friday, March 13, Governor John Bel Edwards issued an Executive Order
asking people to refrain from attending gatherings of more than 250 people
in an effort to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus. It is
important for us as people of faith and citizens of Louisiana to cooperate
with the Governor’s order for the health and well-being of our community.
In light of the Governor’s message, I am therefore dispensing the Catholic
faithful of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux from the obligation to attend
Mass on Sunday for the weekends of March 14-15 and March 21-22. In other
words, no Catholic is required to attend Mass, and it will not be a sin for
the next two weeks to not attend Mass to keep holy the Lord’s day by
attending Mass. Further adaptations to this dispensation may be made as
necessary in the future.
I want to speak very lovingly and yet directly to those who are elderly,
sick, experiencing symptoms of illness, or who are at high risk of illness.
I want you to hear me clearly and I want you to take very seriously the
dispensation from attending Mass. For those 60 and older, I ask you to take
seriously health officials urgings to implement what is called “social
distancing”. I know that it is very hard for us in our culture to distance
ourselves from others in this way, but it is important at this time that we
do so to protect our own health and the health of others. I know that it is
very difficult for our elderly parishioners to accept that they are not
required to attend Mass, but as the one who serves you as bishop I dispense
you from the Mass obligation and I urge you under these circumstances to
accept this dispensation.
Regarding televised productions of Mass, at least for this weekend, I want
to inform you that WLAE-TV broadcasts an 11 am Sunday Mass from St. Louis
Cathedral and live streams Mass at theDailyMass.com
and theDailyMass.com Facebook page. This Sunday we will share the live
stream of their Sunday’s Mass on our Diocesan Facebook Page. There are also
other opportunities for televised Mass via EWTN and Catholic TV.
Regarding school, Governor John Bel Edwards also announced today that all
public schools in the State of Louisiana will be closed until April 13th. Therefore, all Catholic Schools
in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux will follow the closure of public schools and will close for this same time period. Over the last several weeks, our Catholic Schools Office has been preparing for the possibility of this closure of schools.
In response to this school closure, the Catholic schools in the Diocese of
Houma-Thibodaux will begin implementing their distance learning plans.
Families will receive communication from their child’s school with specific
details pertaining to the expectations of their students regarding distance
learning. Parents are asked to please continue to monitor messages received from your
child’s school’s current family communication method, including PlusPortals,
as well as the diocesan website and Facebook Page.
As this is a very fluid situation, we will be updating this information and
these guidelines as necessary and as directed by national, state and local
officials. You can stay up to date with the latest information by regular
visits to our diocesan website.
Be assured of my prayers for you and your loved ones during this time of
concern. God’s peace and blessings be with you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Shelton J. Fabre
Bishop of the Diocese of