Effective immediately, all visitation ministries for the sick and the dead -- including home and hospital visits -- will be temporarily suspended islandwide in line with government's social distancing mandate aimed to contain the spread of Covid-19, the Archdiocese of Agana announced today.
Archbishop Michael Byrnes said this measure is being implemented in consultation with Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services.
"The Department of Public Health and Social Services and the Archdiocese of Agaña continue to practice and urge efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Guam as important members of the island community during this current public health emergency," the archdiocese said. "This measure is taken, trusting in the Providence of our Lord and with the utmost safety of all people in mind."
Church officials said priests will continue prayer services for the departed during funerals. However, they will do so only at the grave sites and not in funeral homes or churches.
Church officials also reminded families to observe the strict protocol limit of 10 persons in attendance.
"Both Public Health and the Archdiocese ask all Guam residents to continue to observe social distancing and gathering mandates by the Government of Guam.," the church said. "Additionally, Public Health and the Archdiocese will work with all related organizations to ensure that the mandate is being followed. Both organizations ask the cooperation of the public in this matter."
"Archbishop Byrnes recognizes the great pain and difficulty of our faithful as they grieve their loved ones. He asks everyone to be comforted by the love of our compassionate Lord and know that in time, we shall return to normal," the archdiocese said. "Members of the public who are Catholics have many options to view Masses online on parish websites, Facebook pages or on electronic broadcasts. Visit archagana.org for a list of those Masses. A toll-free number has also been established at 1 (800) 961-9848 for parishioners who may have questions. Either a priest or layperson will assist them."