LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas continued its suspension of Sunday Mass and other religious gatherings through April 30 ensuring that churches would remain empty through one of the most important periods of the Catholic calendar.
Palm Sunday, the day recognizing Jesus' return to Jerusalem, was the original deadline for Mass suspension, but the continued spread of the coronavirus lead Bishop George Leo Thomas to extend the closure on Friday.
Many pastors have continued to spread the Word in innovative ways despite being physically disconnected from their parishioners.
Father Bill Kenny with Holy Spirit Church has been broadcasting religious services daily since the closure.
"We've encouraged people who are watching to send us pictures of their family watching it at home," Kenny said, "some set up candles and altars with a cross, so on, and show us their whole family watching mass."
Kenny said the church always live streamed at least one Sunday service a week, but they've since broadcast daily meditations at the 14 stages of the cross, recorded short bible reading reflections Monday through Friday, and sent out Mass services for weekend worship.
"People share it," he said, "they share it all over the country so we are actually having people from all over the country tuning into our Sunday Masses."
Many churches in the valley have followed the directive from the Diocese to make their services available online while everyone is practicing social distancing and post them to the church website.
Kenny said families should get closer during the COVID-19 pandemic, rely on each other, and stay strong in their faith.
He also said he prays for the day people can gather to worship again.
"When we are able to have Mass back here it will be a great celebration with lots of music and flowers," Kenny said, "it will be like opening up the church all over again. It's going to be a great day."
The Diocese said the order to suspend Mass would be revisited on April 30.