All Roman Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will be closed to the public until further notice because of the coronavirus outbreak, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez.
"Our community of faith is fully committed to doing all we can to limit the spread of this global public health threat," Gomez said in an announcement late Tuesday night. The closure of churches in nearly 300 parishes comes after masses were suspended as of March 16.
"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."
Gomez encouraged all Catholics "to continue to pray and join in communion for the celebration of Holy Mass remotely via the internet, television or radio."
Spanish-language Masses celebrated privately by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez and the priests at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels are televised by KFTR-TV Channel 46 weekdays and Sundays at 7 a.m.
A listing of livestreams and broadcasts of Masses from the cathedral and the parishes in the archdiocese is available at lacatholics.org/mass-for- the-homebound.
Gomez called on all parishes with bell systems to ring their bells at noon and 6 p.m. daily "as a sign of solidarity and hope."
"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," Gomez said. "We remain strong in faith knowing that God will be with us always."
In addition to canceling massing and shuttering churches, the archdiocese has suspended all Lenten penances services and regularly scheduled confession times. "There are no confessions by telephone, electronic means, or by 'drive-up,'" said the archdiocese guidelines.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the nation's largest, with approximately 5 million Catholics. It consists of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.