Las Cruces, New Mexico -- Bishop Peter Baldacchino on Monday announced the Las Cruces Catholic Diocese will stop celebrating public Mass in order to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The measure effectively pauses weddings and funerals in addition to baptism and marriage preparation classes and other group meetings at the parish level.
The decision was made "with the foremost concern for our Parish community and recognizing the importance of social distancing," according to a statement sent out by the Diocese.
Though the Pastoral Center doors will be locked, it will be minimally staffed while other employees will work remotely. People seeking to contact them can do so by email or phone.
"During this time the faithful are encouraged to pray individually or as a family, with the Liturgy of the Hours, reading scripture, reciting the Rosary, and with other means," said Director of Communications Christopher Velasquez. "Spiritual resources, including a Family Home Celebration During Suspension of Mass, are posted on the diocesan homepage."
The El Paso Catholic Diocese continues to weigh its options. A spokesman said Bishop Mark Seitz is coordinating with local city and county officials for the wellbeing of the parishioners, employees and clergy.
Members of the Catholic Faith Community in El Paso are asked to download the MyParish app by texting app 88202 to keep up with notices.
On Sunday, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced it was forgoing public Masses indefinitely in order to help curb the spread of coronavirus.