Newark Archdiocese Announces Phased Catholic Church Reopening

Carly Baldwin

NEWARK, NJ — The Archdiocese of Newark has announced that its churches are permitted to do a "phased reopening," which began Sunday and allowed for private prayer only.

On Friday, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Newark Archdiocese announced a three-phase gradual reopening process for churches throughout the North Jersey area. The Trenton Archdiocese issued a similar directive.

"The Sacrament of Reconciliation also may be celebrated if social distancing can be maintained and masks are worn," the archdiocese said.

Phase two will incorporate the celebration of weekday Masses and funerals. However, masks must be worn, and the number of people in church will be limited, the archdiocese said. Phase three will permit Sunday Masses, still with masks and with a limit on the number of people.

The archdiocese did not give a timeline of when phase two and three will happen.

"As painful as the decision was to suspend all public Masses in the Archdiocese of Newark during the COVID-19 pandemic, the process was straightforward and necessary for the common good," the archdiocese said in a statement. "As we see numbers flatten and decrease, we are beginning to sense the situation improving. In the interest of the common good, we do not want to contribute to a second wave."

This article originally appeared on the Newark Patch