• Kansas Catholic leader says it’s OK to skip mass over COVID-19.

The Kansas City Star - - Front Page - BY KATIE BERNARD cbernard@kc­star.com Katie Bernard: 816-234-4167, @KatieJ_Bernard

Prac­tic­ing Catholics on the Kansas side of the state line in the Kanas City area are no longer re­quired to at­tend Sun­day Mass, ac­cord­ing to an or­der from the area’s arch­bishop Fri­day.

Arch­bishop Joseph Nau­mann, who leads the Arch­dio­cese of Kansas City in Kansas, is­sued a spe­cial dis­pen­sa­tion telling Catholics in the 118 churches in the dio­cese that they are not ob­li­gated to at­tend Sun­day Mass.

The or­der comes as churches across the Kansas City area can­cel ser­vices amid grow­ing con­cern over the novel coro­n­avirus. State, lo­cal and fed­eral of­fi­cials have de­clared states of emer­gency and warned res­i­dents, es­pe­cially those who are older or who have pre­ex­ist­ing health con­di­tions, against at­tend­ing large gath­er­ings.

De­spite the dis­pen­sa­tion, Nau­mann said in a news re­lease, reg­u­larly sched­uled masses will re­main open to the public. Any­one who is sick or may have been ex­posed to COVID-19, how­ever, is asked not to at­tend.

“I en­cour­age those who can at­tend to do so and join to­gether in prayer for the health and pro­tec­tion of our en­tire com­mu­nity and for an end to this crisis,” Nau­mann said in the state­ment.

The ser­vices will be mod­i­fied. On Wed­nes­day, Nau­mann is­sued a set of 20 di­rec­tives to churches ask­ing them to drain the holy wa­ter fonts, sus­pend the ex­change of the sign of peace and sus­pend the dis­tri­bu­tion of the Pre­cious Blood dur­ing Holy Com­mu­nion.

FER­NANDO LLANO AP

A spe­cial dis­pen­sa­tion has been is­sued say­ing Catholics in the Arch­dio­cese of Kansas City in Kansas are not ob­li­gated to at­tend Sun­day Mass amid grow­ing con­cern over the novel coro­n­avirus.

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