Changes to Catholic Services Amid COVID-19 Virus

(UPDATE March 20, 2020, 12 noon EDT)

FROM THE DIOCESE: Bishop DiMarzio has issued the following updates. Please continue to check this website and our Facebook page often for updates and spiritual help and guidance.

Churches: New Mandates! Church to remain closed until further notice

  • Because of the ongoing danger of groups gathering and the possibility of the virus spreading in this way, the Diocese is MANDATING churches to remain closed. Some parishes have already found it necessary to do this and, in light of the proximity of our parishes to each other, it is thought best to have a consistent policy in the entire diocese. THIS IS EFFECTIVE AS OF MARCH 20, 2020 at NOON.
  • At this time, too, we are MANDATING parish offices to close for business in an attempt to keep people in their homes as much as possible for their own health and well-being. Most parish office business can be conducted by telephone. Those who can work from home should do so. THIS IS EFFECTIVE AS OF MARCH 20, 2020 at NOON.

Pastoral Concerns

  • Bishop DiMarzio has granted all the faithful of the Diocese of Brooklyn a dispensation from the law of abstinence for the Fridays of Lent for this year. This is being done to assist people who may have difficulties in shopping for food or other reasons which would make this practice difficult at this time.
  • Please keep the Fridays of Lent (and indeed all year) as days of penance and prayer and that this is needed now more than ever.
  • Spiritual counseling from the OLQM priests will be given over the phone only.

Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities is available for assistance, if needed. The Call Center number is 718-722-6001, Monday through Friday from 9AMto 6PM. Information is available about food pantries and about mental health services. The mental health centers have the capacity to offer counseling over the phone.

(UPDATED March 20, 2020) – This message supersedes any previous information shared by OLQMatters email.

FROM THE DIOCESE: The Diocese has announced and asked us to cancel all public Masses and services. The priests of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs will offer privately Masses for the scheduled Mass intentions.

The weekend Masses (Saturday Vigil and Sunday) are canceled because the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently mandated a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.

We encourage you to pray the Stations of the Cross at home this Lenten season. You can read or listen to the Online Stations of the Cross. You may also want to watch The Way of the Cross with Pope Francis 2020, narrated by Siobhain Kandra from our parish. This 12:20-minute video is on YouTube.

All public devotions are canceled until further notice.

Let us please also watch out for one another and follow the recommended CDC guidelines:

  • If you are sick or vulnerable due to age, past illness, diminished immune system, recent chemo treatment, etc., please stay home.

Bishop Paul R. Sanchez, Pastor

Father Francis Passenant, Administrator

(UPDATE March 14, 2020, 10 PM EDT)

Diocese of Brooklyn Cancels All Public Masses

Given the continuing and growing concern about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Bishop DiMarzio has asked that all public Masses be canceled in the Diocese of Brooklyn beginning Monday, March 16th, until further notice. This includes weekday Masses as well as Sunday. Funerals and weddings will be permitted but should be limited to family members only. Parish baptism celebrations should be limited to family only, if they cannot be postponed. Confirmations should be celebrated with the Rite of Confirmation without Mass, if need be, and in consultation with the Bishop scheduled to celebrate the Confirmation.

Mass on NET-TV

The faithful of the diocese are reminded that the Bishop has already issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday. The obligation to keep the Lord’s Day holy can be fulfilled by maintaining a prayerful attitude and through personal and family prayer.
The faithful are urged to watch the celebration of the Eucharist on TV as well. The celebrations are scheduled as follows:

  • Saturday at 6 PM: Vigil prerecorded from Immaculate Conception in Jamaica (English)
  • Sunday at 11 PM: Live from St. James Cathedral in Downtown Brooklyn (English)
  • Sunday at 1:30 PM: Prerecorded from Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights (Spanish)

NET-TV can be seen in the New York City are on Spectrum (Channel 97), Optimum (Channel 30) and FIOS (Channel 48). Viewers can also tune in online at

In light of the continuing crisis, the situation is being monitored carefully and updates will follow. Let us continue to pray, especially through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for those who are sick, for medical personnel and for all people as we confront this challenge.

Article in The Tablet, March 15, 2020

(UPDATE March 13, 2020, 10 AM EDT)

Official Statement from the Diocese on COVID-19

Churches & Liturgy

In an effort to be proactive in our response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Bishop DiMarzio has dispensed the faithful from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice.

Public Masses will be celebrated; however the faithful are urged to exercise caution and try to limit the numbers of persons gathered. This is in an effort to be in compliance with the State’s regulations about large public gatherings. This dispensation remains in effect until further notice.

Weekday Masses, too, will continue as usual with the normal precautions people should take when gathering in public places. Other celebrations (such as weddings and funerals) may take place but attendance should be limited. Celebrations such as Confirmations, First Penance, etc. may take place but attendance should be strictly limited, perhaps including only family members. There is an option for an Order for Confirmation without Mass, if this is desired. In these extremely difficult and challenging times, our primary duty is to keep the faithful safe and healthy.

When gathering, the faithful are urged to take the necessary precautions including hand washing, remaining at a safe distance from others, and other safe practices, such as the reception of Holy Communion in the hand.


The elementary Catholic Academies and Parish Schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn/Queens will close next week, Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20. Monday will be used as a professional day for teachers to develop their distance learning plans. We anticipate that beginning Tuesday, children in the Academies and Schools of the Diocese will have access to online learning.

In addition, the leadership of all Catholic Academies and Parish Schools are committed to following CDC guidelines regarding deep cleaning and sanitization of buildings.

This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution because of the rapidly changing situation and after consultation with city and state agencies. Please continue to monitor your Catholic Academy and Parish School websites next week for further updates.

Religious Education Programs

All in-person parish religious education classes, all youth ministry classes and group meetings (including all CYO activities), and all adult faith formation sessions (including RENEW and other small faith sharing groups) will be canceled until further notice. As previously stated, all Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis classes, events, workshops, and other gatherings are also canceled during this period.

The health of all the faithful of the Diocese is of utmost concern, so let us continue to pray to the Lord who is a healer to protect us and bring about quickly an end to this present crisis.

(UPDATE March 6, 2020, 3 PM EST)

Coronavirus Safety Precautions at Masses

In light of the increasing threat of the spread of the coronavirus, as well as the continuing flu season, Bishop DiMarzio wants to reaffirm the cautions and preventative measures that should be taken at liturgies in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.

There is no place for fear or division in the celebration of a liturgy and so, desiring to keep our communities together and united, these directives, previously issued, are now being reissued with a greater urgency.

  • If you are sick, please stay home.
  • It is VERY STRONGLY suggested that Holy Communion be received in the hand as long as this threat continues. Pastors are advising the faithful that this is for the protection of all the faithful who receive (not just the communicant) and the priest, deacon, or extraordinary minister who is distributing Holy Communion. Pastors may take the opportunity to instruct the faithful on the correct and reverent way to receive the Eucharist in the hand.
  • Extraordinary ministers distributing Holy Communion have always and will continue to disinfect their hands.
  • On Holy Thursday this year, the distribution of the Precious Blood to the faithful will be suspended.
  • The Roman Missal’s rubrics state that the priest or deacon should ask the faithful to exchange the sign of peace “if appropriate.” Prudence suggests that this time is not, in fact, an appropriate time to do so. Therefore, for the time being, after the general greeting “The peace of the Lord be with you,” the liturgy should continue with the “Agnus Dei.”
  • Holy water fonts will be empty. No one should feel obligated to use holy water upon entering or leaving church, nor should anyone feel obligated to greet the celebrant (or one another) before or after Mass with a handshake.