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Coronavirus forces mass to suspend during lent

The coronavirus outbreak is impacting every segment of society, even religion.

PHOENIX — If you’re used to going to Sunday mass this weekend you’ll have to pray on your own as the coronavirus outbreak is impacting every segment of society, even religion.

“We're always praying; we're always caring for the poor; we're always attending the conversion. And this is lent,” said Reverend Michael Weldon, explaining St. Mary's Basilica's work never really stops.

Even now, in the midst of a pandemic, the church is serving people of the street and mentally ill. But this weekend, at least in the formal setting, coronavirus has forced the parish to cancel public services.

“This lent for us is about...doing penitence from each other and stopping for a while. Find our humanity and what we got in common,” he said.

Father Weldon believes challenging times like these are right for people to focus inward - and even without traditional mass, St. Mary's Basilica is still holding services to watch online.

"The diocese is providing a mass with bishop regularly. We're trying to provide prayer services and reflections," he said.

Father Weldon also stressed the importance of people distancing themselves from negative energy, practicing good communication and beginning new routines.

“Have prayer time, have quiet time, clean your house, and clean it again,” he said.

At this point, it's unclear when public mass will resume.

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