"This difficult decision is an extension of the Archdiocese's recent announcement, in which Cardinal Tobin dispensed the faithful of the Archdiocese from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice," the Archodiocese said in a statement.
"This decision comes after exhaustive discussion and with an especially heavy heart," said Cardinal Tobin. "It is critical that all comply with this directive to protect the health of all throughout the archdiocese and beyond. Please be assured of my continued prayers for you and for the communities we serve. During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Archdiocese of Newark, I ask for your cooperation and leadership as we mobilize the resources and support needed to care for all in our communities. Our Eucharistic fast continues, as we pray for its quick end."
The following exceptions are permitted:
1. Baptisms, funerals, burial services, and previously scheduled weddings are permitted; however, attendance must be limited to a maximum of 10 participants, including the celebrant. The celebrant should consider carefully with the next of kin or wedding couple who will attend. Celebrants also should remind families that the same limitations are being applied across all relevant Archdiocesan institutions, including Catholic cemeteries.
2. The Anointing of the Sick and Reconciliation will remain available, as needed. The celebrant should take every prudent precaution where indicated, such as use of gowns, masks and gloves.
3. A priest may use a cotton-tipped swab or cotton ball as an instrument to anoint the sick person.
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