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Ahead of Palm Sunday, Bishop Tobin offers video homily


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The faithful will have to stay home on Palm Sunday, Bishop Thomas Tobin said in a YouTube video marking Holy Week, and keep their own personal vigil, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, as well as their counterparts in the Diocese of Fall River, on March 16 canceled all Masses for the near future as public gatherings of more than a few people are being banned by states and towns to stop the virus from spreading.

“The events of Holy Week will still be celebrated, but now in a more private way, in the quiet of empty churches,” Tobin said, adding that priests will be keeping their congregations in prayers and encouraging congregants to pray in turn for their priest.

Tobin encouraged Rhode Island Catholics to watch liturgies on television or in streaming video online, and to pray on their own.

“The doors of our churches may be bolted, but nothing can chain the word of God,” he added.

Earlier in the week, Tobin made a request to churches throughout the diocese to ring their bells for five minutes on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. as a sign of solidarity, faith and unity.

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