Currents News Staff
Catholic churches around the globe are taking major precautions amid concerns for the coronavirus.
In Hong Kong, churches are celebrating Masses online and Ash Wednesday services have been suspended.
In Italy, several dioceses have cancelled Ash Wednesday services and suspended public Masses, where more than 150 reported cases have been reported, mostly in the northern region.
A top Vatican archbishop is from that area and, according to one report, his siblings have been quarantined.
Public events in Italy, such as the Venice Carnival, have also been suspended.
Churches are also enforcing measures including no physical greeting during the sign of peace, shorter funeral services, weddings celebrated only with close relatives and removal of Holy Water from fonts. Parish dining rooms will also have food in to-go containers.
Masses and Ash Wednesday services have not been cancelled in the Brooklyn Diocese, though Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has suspended distribution of the Precious Blood over concerns for both the coronavirus and the flu.
If the epidemic continues around the world, Holy Week may be impacted.