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Scharfenberger: Mass, other events postponed until further notice

He is urging people to stay in touch with their spiritual side while still taking part in social distancing. Streaming services are available.

There will be no more Masses, at least for now, in Buffalo until further notice.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger said in a statement Sunday night that no regular Masses would be held "due to an abundance of caution and growing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus."

Churches will be allowed to remain open, though, and followers are encouraged to visit and pray while exercising social distancing practices.

Bishop Scharfenberger shared a message with followers on Friday, urging people to stay in touch with their spiritual side while still taking part in social distancing.

He also pointed out a way for anyone to watch Mass this weekend as long as you've got internet access.

"Each day, there are a number of masses that are live streamed on the web, and we have made available the schedules on our Diocesan website. I invite you to check there often for updates and additional resources," he said.

The decision follows new guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which discouraged events that would include 50 or more people from taking place.

Other church events, such as confirmations, are also on hold until further notice.

"As the faith community of Western New York, we have an important part to play in protecting those most vulnerable and those with underlying medical issues during this period of extreme concern over the spread of the coronavirus," Bishop Scharfenberger said in a statement.

"I realize how deeply disappointing it is during our season of Lent to refrain from gathering at public Masses and participating together in our liturgical life, but we must avoid the risk of wider infection. I encourage the faithful to pray fervently during this time when we must be apart and to continue their Lenten journey within families and in the quiet of their own prayerful reflection, knowing that Christ abides with us always and in every place."

Mass had gone on as usual at a lot of churches around the area Sunday, with the Diocese of Buffalo saying it was waiting for more guidance from health officials.

2 On Your Side talked with Father James Loiacono at Holy Cross church on Buffalo's West Side, where the congregation was much, much smaller than usual on Sunday morning.

"Right now, it's in such a state of ambiguity, and no one knows really what to do," he said. "They don't clearly understand, none of us really do, how to deal with this. So that's going to bring the numbers down."

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