Podcast: How one bishop decided to cancel Mass because of coronavirus


No priest becomes a bishop imagining he will one day tell his people not to come to Mass. But across the United States and much of the world, bishops have had to make the heartrending decision to shutter their churches and cancel the public celebration of the Mass and other sacraments.


This week, we speak with Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Ky., about how his ministry has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic. We ask how people in his diocese responded to his decision to suspend public Masses, the creative ways his priests are ministering to their parish communities and what he would want to say to Catholics who are struggling with their faith in this time of sorrow, fear and uncertainty.

On Signs of the Times, Kathleen McChesney, an advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse, receives one of the U.S. church’s most prestigious awards. Plus we discuss the closure of a historic Catholic newspaper and the devastating effect of the coronavirus pandemic on parishes’ finances as well as the people who work for and are served by the local church. Finally, the creative ways priests are bringing the sacraments to their flock—and how the rest of us are keeping the faith alive at home.

[Explore all of America’s in-depth coverage of the coronavirus pandemic]

Now more than ever, we treasure the community you all have helped to build on Jesuitical’s Facebook page. Don’t hesitate to share both the joys and challenges you experience during this difficult moment in the life of our church. We cannot make this show or grow this community without your support. Please consider giving through Patreon. And thank you.

Links from the show

Kathleen McChesney, advocate for abuse victims, to receive Laetare Medal
Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper terminates all employees, comes as 'a shock' to staff
With Masses suspended, parishes face collection shortfalls and perilous finances
Indianapolis Archdiocese shuts down drive-thru confessions

What’s on tap?

Hand sanitizer. Lots of hand sanitizer.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.


The latest from america

Pope Francis greets the faithful from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square on May 31. The pope led the Sunday prayer from his window for the first time in three months, after the square was reopened. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
On Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis proclaimed the unity guaranteed by the Holy Spirit: “we are not bits of confetti blown about by the wind, rather we are irreplaceable fragments in his mosaic.” Gerard O’Connell reports.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 31, 2020
Tucker Redding, S.J. guides listeners through contemplative prayer in this 10-part limited series "Imagine: A Guide to Jesuit Prayer."
Pope Francis touches a Marian icon as he leaves at the end of a vigil, ahead of Pentecost Sunday, at the Vatican June 8, 2019. (CNS photo/Remo Casilli, Reuters)
The pope’s message poses a sharp challenge to a movement known more for personal conversion and evangelization than practical mercy.
Austen IvereighMay 30, 2020
A woman in Minneapolis expresses her anger and frustration on May 28, at the site where George Floyd was pinned down on May 25 by a police officer; he was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit)
"Indifference is not an option," said the chairmen of seven committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. They stated "unequivocally" that "racism is a life issue."