Mass by May 31? Tobin hopes so; Raimondo not sure

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With Gov. Gina Raimondo increasingly signaling she does not plan to renew her current stay-at-home order when it expires on May 8, one of the questions being raised is when churches will be allowed to hold public services again.

“It is my fond hope, my prayer, my ‘aspiration’ that by May 31, the Solemnity of Pentecost, we will be able to gather in our churches again, even with a limited number of worshipers if necessary, for the public celebration of Holy Mass and to invoke the healing grace of the Holy Spirit,” Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin wrote Sunday in a six-page letter on the diocese’s website.

During a conference call with reporters Tuesday, however, Raimondo expressed reservations about how quickly religious services can resume so long as coronavirus remains a threat.

“Those are all the questions that we’re trying to figure out,” she said. “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

“It’s a great thing to hope for, and certainly I share that hope, too,” Raimondo, a practicing Catholic, continued. “The hardest thing to bring back are going to be congregations, particularly congregations that might involve people over 70 years old. … We’re working on it. I share the hope. We’ll have to figure it out together.”

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