DUBUQUE — The leader of the Dubuque Catholic Diocese says churches will be allowed to hold services once again on the last weekend of this month.
Archbishop Michael Jackels announced his decision in a video and says it is based on the coronavirus trends for northeast Iowa. “Namely, that there has been a 14-day downward trend in positive tests, hospitalizations, and deaths related to COVD-19 in the 30 northeastern counties in Iowa, which is what makes up the Archdiocese of Dubuque,” Jackels says.
He asks the priests in the Archdiocese to not to start before the May 30th reopening date. And he also asks parishioners to understand if a priest decides that it isn’t prudent to reopen on account of his own compromised health situation, or because the coronavirus is still raging in the area.
“We’re not yet out of the woods; the coronavirus is still with us. And if we’re not careful, it could come back with a vengeance. And so, we will continue to monitor the data,” Jackels says. He says there will be precautions in place and they may make it tough for everyone to get into a mass.
“On account of social distancing, there will only be room for a smaller number of people to attend,” according to Jackels. “But not to worry, because everyone will still remain dispensed from the law to participate in Mass on Sundays and holy days, until further notice.”
Jackels encourages church members to do one thing whether they get to a mass or watch online.” Remember to pray for those who died during the pandemic, and for those who haven’t been able to grieve their passing properly. And pray, too, for people who are sick, for caregivers, and for those who live in fear for their lives and their livelihood on account of the pandemic,” he says.
Jackels says patience is needed to get through the COVID-19 threat. “We eventually want the pews filled, and programs well-attended, it just might take some time. Prayers for the end of the pandemic’s threat, as well as patience and cooperation, are what’s needed most right now,” Jackels says.
The Bishop of the Des Moines Catholic Diocese is allowing morning services to resume Monday through Saturday in 15 of the counties in the diocese. The dioceses of Sioux City and Davenport haven’t yet released any plans to resume services at churches.