Metro Atlanta Catholic, Episcopal churches move services online

In some cases, it may affect weddings and funerals

The list of churches that are holding online only services is growing, but in some cases it’s not only affecting Sunday worship but weddings and funerals.

The Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta both said on Monday that their churches will not hold in-person services at least for the next few weeks as the conronavirus spreads in Georgia.

Health officials have confirmed 121 cases and one death as of Monday afternoon.

For Catholics, the suspension of public masses begins Tuesday and extends through April 5. Weddings and funerals will be limited to immediate family only with no in-parish receptions

“We are challenged to find non-traditional ways to connect with one another,” said the Most Rev. Joel M. Konzen, the diocesan administration in a message. “ It is a sacrifice, for sure, for all of us to alter our participation in the Eucharist, a sacrifice as unwelcome as it is new. Still, we understand that it is, for the time being, a cross we bear in a spirit of self-denial, an emptying of ourselves in imitation of Our Lord’s privation as He faced His Passion,”

 RelatedTo protect members, many churches will go online

The archdiocese, he said, plans to step up efforts to make spiritual resources available during this time and advised people to check the website for a list of masses that are live streamed and offered through social media.

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Churches, though,  will remain open for prayer and adoration, though it may be moved to larger spaces. If people are ill, they are advised to stay home and if a parishioner comes, to observe guidelines for social distancing.

Priests will still be able to hear individual confessions, but penance services are canceled. All other gatherings in parish facilities, including confirmations, are canceled or postponed for now.

The Atlanta archdiocese has 1.2 million Catholics and covers 69 North Georgia counties, including all of metro Atlanta and Athens.

Bishop Robert Wright of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, shown at an Inauguration Day prayer service in 2019, said churches can cancel all worship services for the next two weeks or practice extreme caution amid the coronavirus threat. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

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Bishop Robert C. Wright of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta has directed every congregation to move worship and meetings online “until further notice.”

He said now is the time for congregations “ to use the gift of our tradition along side of new ways to practice being the body of Christ and to deepen our connections with one another and with the wider world.”

The diocese has established a resource site for information.

It oversees 117 congregations in Middle and North Georgia