Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) -  All Masses - ALL Masses -  at Catholic churches in southeast Minnesota have been suspended for at least two months due to the coronavirus (COVID 19) crisis.

Diocese of Winona-Rochester Bishop John M. Quinn made the following announcement Wednesday:

Beginning  Friday, March 20, 2020, in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester all public Sunday and weekday Masses will be suspended for the next eight weeks, through Friday, May 15, 2020. On or before that date, a decision will be made to continue or to lift the restrictions on public Masses. The faithful of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester will continue to be dispensed from their Sunday obligation for the duration of time that public Masses are suspended. During this time, Perpetual Adoration will also be suspended.

Priests will continue to offer daily a private Mass for the intentions of their parishioners.
Churches may remain open for private prayer. Sacramental ministry will be available for the Sacrament of Penance, Anointing of the Sick, and Viaticum, on an individual basis.
Funeral Masses, Baptisms, and Weddings will continue, but only a small number of immediate family members are to attend.

Calling the suspension of public Masses, “the most difficult decision I have ever made,” Bishop Quinn said it is, “based on my desire to protect our people as advised by public officials and health care experts. By not coming together and having personal contact, we hope to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

Even with the suspension of public Masses, Bishop Quinn noted that the more fundamental obligation of keeping holy the Lord’s Day still remains, and encouraged the faithful to, “take advantage of the many Masses that are broadcast on radio and TV in English and in Spanish and unite yourself spiritually in deep communion with the Lord.”