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Catholic Arlington Diocese, Christ Church Georgetown Suspend All Services, Gonzaga High School President Tests Positive

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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The Catholic Diocese of Arlington and the Episcopalian Christ Church Georgetown suspended all services in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington issued a Monday evening video message announcing that the public celebration of all masses in the diocese would be suspended until further notice. (RELATED: ‘I Am The Individual’: DC Priest With Coronavirus Reportedly Gave Communion At Services With More Than 500 In Attendance)

“While this is clearly a confusing moment, we must remember Our Lord tells us: ‘Be not afraid!’ We must remain rooted in, and unified by, prayer,” Burbidge said, encouraging parishioners to “consider how you can use your time.”

“Find ways to spend time alone in prayer and silence with the Lord,” he said. “Pray with your children. Teach them more about the Faith. Spend quality time as a family. Get some exercise. It is important that we not simply sit and worry. We must be active in keeping our bodies and our souls healthy until the coronavirus passes. And it will pass.”

The Episcopalian Christ Church in Georgetown, D.C., also announced that Bishop Mariann suspended all public worship and church gatherings until May 16.

“This is not surprising,” the clergy, wardens and staff of the church said in a Monday statement. “The health and well-being of our community must be a top priority.”

“Since this news is fresh, your wardens, clergy, and staff are just beginning conversations about how we can continue to be in community with each other and how we can celebrate our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection without being together in one place,” the statement said. “There will be more to come in the days ahead.”

“For more than 200 years Christ Church has been a beacon of God’s love at the corner of 31st and O Street, and beyond,” they added. “And while our doors may be closed right now, be assured that the light of God’s love still shines.”

Gonzaga College High School, a Jesuit high school in Washington, D.C., confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday evening that the school’s president, Father Stephen Planning, tested positive for COVID-19 on March 15th.

“Currently, Father Planning is experiencing mild flu-like symptoms and is in self-quarantine at his residence,” spokesman Rob Volmer told the DCNF.

”On March 16th, DC Health was notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Gonzaga College High School,” the D.C. Department of Health said in a Monday statement to Gonzaga. “Through DC Health’s investigation it has been determined that all those who had close contact with this individual between March 13th to today could have been exposed to COVID-19.”

The department added: “March 13th is the first date this individual was symptomatic. At this time we believe individuals with close contact when the confirmed case is symptomatic are at medium to high risk of developing COVID-19.  DC Health is recommending that such individuals should isolate themselves at home and await contact from DC Health.”

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