Church-Goers Saddened By Lack of Daily Masses

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Public Masses in Massachusetts’s Catholic churches are not occurring amid the coronavirus pandemic, but that has not stopped some from going to church for personal prayer.

New Boston Post visited several churches on the South Shore on Wednesday, March 18.

While some churches, like Saint Christine’s in Marshfield and Holy Family in Duxbury, are shut down for the time being and encouraging local Catholics to watch streamed Masses online, Our Lady of the Assumption in the Green Harbor section of Marshfield replaced its Masses with personal prayer times. People are welcome to come and pray as long as they maintain the recommended social distancing.

“It’s different, but it’s good I can still come here,” 34-year-old Marshfield resident Peter MacLeod told New Boston Post outside of Our Lady of the Assumption on Wednesday morning. “People are losing work. People are dying. The economy’s not looking good. It’s a tough time.”

MacLeod said he misses the sense of community that the church brings him, including seeing people that he would consider friends.

Although not a regular at the church, 67-year-old Douglas Murphy of Duxbury stopped by Our Lady of the Assumption on Wednesday as well.

In addition to his loved ones, Murphy said he wanted to pray for those infected with coronavirus across the world.

“No one knows how many people have it,” he told New Boston Post outside of the church. “It’s a small number that’ve been tested, so I’m trying to avoid going out as much as I can. But the victims of the virus could definitely use some prayers right about now.”

Murphy said he likes to visit a variety of churches in the area on Sundays, but he understands that’s not an option this week.

“I’ll probably watch the Sunday service on TV like I normally do when I’m sick,” he said. “I get why they’re doing it, but it’s unfortunate.”

Murphy said that there is a Catholic mass broadcast live every Sunday at 7 a.m. on WSBK in the Boston market, known as myTV38 (formerly UPN 38). Murphy also noted that the channel is also available for those who watch TV with an antenna as opposed to cable or a satellite dish. 

Dealing with the lack of public Masses is not something that 71-year-old Barbara Doyle of Marshfield anticipated, even with the spread of coronavirus. 

She told New Boston Post she is worried there might not be Mass on Easter Sunday, which is April 12 this year.

“That’s normally a really big donation day for the churches and can help some of the smaller ones stay afloat,” she said. “So I really hope people remember to support their local church even if they can’t go to it.”

“I’ll be saying my prayers for the sick and the poor, and for the churches themselves too,” she added.

All four Roman Catholic bishops in Massachusetts have cancelled all public Masses, although priests are supposed to continue saying Mass privately.

There is no timetable on when public Masses will occur in Massachusetts once again.

These Mass times no longer apply at Holy Family Church in Duxbury, Massachusetts, thanks to the coronavirus shutdowns. Photo from parish web site.