Catholic Diocese of London extends church closures to end of June

Bishop Ronald Fabbro announced the decision to extend the closure of churches Tuesday, along with the cancellation of summer events.

The Diocese also cancelled all summer events until Labour Day

The update from the Diocese of London means all masses and services will be suspended until at least June 30. (istock-852)

Catholic churches in the region will remain closed until the end of June and summer events will be cancelled, according to a statement issued by the Diocese of London.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro announced the decision Tuesday, stating if restrictions on gatherings and religious services are eased sooner, they will resume services in compliance with the government's orders. 

"We continue to follow strictly the direction of the Government of Ontario and local health authorities as to when the lockdown will be lifted," said Bishop Fabbro, in an online statement.

"With other dioceses in Ontario, we are awaiting guidelines being prepared under the auspices of the Bishops of Ontario to safely reopen our churches."

The decision means all masses and services will continue to be suspended until at least June 30.

Bishop Fabbro has granted Catholics dispensation from their Sunday obligation. Also, funeral masses are not being permitted, baptisms will continue to be postponed and it's recommended weddings already scheduled be delayed. 

Summer events cancelled until Labour Day

While churches will remain empty until at least the end of June, all summer gatherings will be cancelled.

"All social and other religious events normally held during the summer months will be cancelled, at least until Labour Day," said Fabbro.

"This directive is contingent on governmental directions as noted above. It includes parish dinners and picnics; yard sales and bazaars; and national religious festivals and pilgrimages."

Fabbro said the church will continue to pray for an end to the pandemic, for those who are suffering, for those who are providing care, and for those who have died and their loved ones.

The Diocese of London serves approximately 450,000 Catholics throughout southwestern Ontario. It stretches from Windsor to Woodstock, and from Goderich to Port Dover.