The Catholic Diocese of Trenton which represents parishioners in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties, has announced that all churches will be closed to the public until further notice, effective immediately.

At a time when all churches in the Diocese of Trenton are closed to Mass-goers because of coronavirus restrictions, Catholics are still being invited to commemorate Palm Sunday and the arrival of Holy Week on April 5 as a virtual experience via video livestreaming.

The Diocese of Trenton announced Wednesday that All Masses and services throughout this most solemn week of the Church year will be conducted without a congregation, as instructed by Bishop David M. O’Connell, and the faithful are encouraged to participate reverently as families from their homes for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Additional restrictions and adaptations to preserve the health of the public are in place during this special week, and include:

  • Palms will not be blessed and distributed in any churches of the Diocese on Palm Sunday because of the risk of contagion. Palms will be blessed and made available at a later time yet to be determined.
  • The Chrism Mass, traditionally celebrated on the Monday of Holy Week in the Diocese during which the sacred chrism and oils used by the parishes throughout the year for conferral of Sacraments are blessed and consecrated by the Bishop, has been postponed.
  • The individuals who were preparing for full Communion in the Church during the Easter Vigil will receive their sacraments at a later date due to the coronavirus restrictions.

Bishop O’Connell will celebrate liturgies for Holy Week and Easter via live video stream from St. Rose Church in Belmar.

The livestream can be viewed on the Diocese’s youtube channel and other diocesan websites and social media (see below), and on www.strosebelmar.com/srb/.

The schedule for Bishop O’Connell’s livestreamed events appears below (All liturgies are celebrated without a congregation.):

  • Mass for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord  -- April 5 at 11:30 a.m.
  • Holy Thursday/Mass of the Lord’s Supper – April 9 at 7 p.m.
  • Good Friday/The Commemoration/Celebration of the Lord’s Passion – April 10, 3 p.m.
  • Holy Saturday/The Easter Vigil – April 11, 7 p.m.

The faithful may also view a video originally produced by the Diocese for national television in 2018 of Easter Sunday Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord, celebrated by Bishop O’Connell in St. Catharine Church, Spring Lake.

The video may be accessed at any time on youtube.com/trentondiocese.

Other sites to view the live streams include:

In addition to the Bishop’s schedule, several dozen parishes in the Diocese will also livestream their Masses and liturgies on their local websites.

A list of parishes that have announced their livestream schedules is available here.

The Diocese of Trenton represents the faith community of 730,000 Catholics who belong to parishes throughout Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

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