Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel has announced new directives for Catholic church parishes throughout the Diocese of Lafayette that will become effective at 5 p.m. today, in accordance with the “Stay At Home” order issued yesterday by Governor John Bel Edwards. Bishop Deshotel urges everyone in our area to heed the Governor’s order, both in what it requires and in what it seeks to accomplish in order to “flatten the curve” of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Central Offices of the Diocese of Lafayette will close at 4:30 p.m. today (Monday, March 23, 2020) and will remain closed until further notice, and Central Offices staff members will work remotely and will be available via email.
Bishop Deshotel says that Catholic church parishes in the Diocese may remain open during times specified by each individual pastor, Monday through Saturday. Churches are to remain closed to the public on Sundays, in order to discourage large groups of people from gathering. This directive will remain in effect indefinitely, unless keeping churches open becomes a public health hazard or if social distancing is not practiced by those present.
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will be discontinued in the church parishes. Bishop Deshotel says this action is taken with great regret, however, it is done so in order to discourage the faithful from gathering in close proximity to one another. Funerals will continue as graveside services only, with a total of only ten people or fewer present.
Finally, Bishop Deshotel urges everyone in Acadiana to keep in prayer all those on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19 and all those who have been affected by it.
As we face this unprecedented public health challenge, may we call on the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, St. Joseph and Blessed Seelos.
Lord, we live in fear and uncertainty as we experience the Coronavirus. Be our strength and our hope. Give healing to those affected and protection to all of us. We ask you to calm our fears and trust in You. We also ask the prayers of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, St. Joseph, and Blessed Seelos to strengthen us in this time of need.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.