STONEHAM, Mass. — In-person services at St. Patrick Church in Stoneham are cancelled during Holy Week, the most sacred time of the year for Catholics.
“I don’t want the parish to become a super spreader so we have to protect one another,” said Rev. Mario Orrigo, church pastor.
Holy Thursday services at St Patrick’s were the first to go virtual only after an outbreak of COVID here.
Parishioners were notified of the change after St. Patrick Parish sent a letter about the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases among staff and clergy even after they continuously disinfected all common areas in the parish.
“I read it on the website last night and I was shocked,” said Maureen Mahoney, parishioner.
All in-person services at St Patrick’s are on hold right through through Easter Sunday and right up until April 10.
It’s a tough call, but a necessary one, said Orrigo, who discussed it with the local health department and the Archdiocese first.
“The prudent thing would be to protect everyone in the parish,” said Orrigo.
And he said the outbreak is limited to parish staff.
“So we had an incident with office staff where four office staff came down with Covid and one deacon,” he said, adding that no parishioners have tested positive.
Parishioners told Boston 25 it’s a hard not to be in church during Holy Week but they believe Father Mario is doing the right thing.
“The timing is difficult but I think most parishioners will understand,” said Bill Leavitt, parishioner.
And he’s not alone in that.
“I think it’s very sad but if people are sick,” said Mahoney.
Rev. Orrigo will be offering a live stream for the Triduum and the parish’s Easter Mass on their local cable channel.
For more information on the rescheduling of any masses, Rev. Orrigo advises the public to contact the St. Patrick Parish’s office at 781-438-0960.
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