BEAUMONT, Texas — As concerns about the spread of the coronavirus continue to prompt businesses and organizations to make changes, the Diocese of Beaumont announced it is suspending services starting on Thursday.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The Bishop is requesting parishioners pray the rosary "together" from their own homes at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 19. Congregations will not come together to meet for this.)

The suspension includes Holy Week and Easter services. 

Bishop Curtis Guillory issued the decree on Wednesday afternoon. 

Jefferson, Hardin, Orange, Liberty, Chambers, Polk, Jasper, Tyler and Newton counties are all part of the diocese. 

Guillory spoke to 12News on Wednesday. 

"I've been reflecting on it, probably the hardest decision I've had to make as a priest and a bishop. What makes it so hard is this is the time that people need to and want to get together," he said. 

Following a request from Pope Francis, Bishop Guillory is asking the Catholic faithful of the Beaumont Diocese to join in praying the luminous mysteries of the Rosary at 9 pm, Thursday, March 19, the feast of St. Joseph. Parishioners should pray the rosary at home as the congregation will not come together to meet for this.

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These churches will hold online services: 

St.Anne – Beaumont  8:15am Mass Monday-Saturday and the 11:30am Mass on Sunday  (Facebook) (Youtube) 

Infant Jesus – Lumberton 7:00pm Mass Monday-Friday (Facebook) 

St. Charles – Nederland 9:00am Mass Monday, Thursday and Friday, 6:00pm Mass Wednesday and 9:30am Mass Sunday (Facebook) 

St. Elizabeth – Port Neches 8:30am Mass Monday-Saturday and 10:30am Mass Sunday (Facebook) 

From a Diocese of Beaumont news release: 

Beaumont Catholic Bishop suspends public Masses, all liturgical services and other activities

In a formal decree issued late today Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD, suspended all liturgical services including public Masses as well as other church related activities in the Catholic Diocese of Beaumont effective at the end of the day on Thursday, March 19, 2020. That suspension includes Holy Week and Easter Services.

The decree dispenses Catholics in the Beaumont Diocese from their obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.

Bishop Guillory issued the suspension after much prayer and consultation with his Brother Bishops, his Priests’ Council and in an abundance of caution and concern for the welfare of the community in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decree is attached to this email and can be found on the diocesan website at www.dioceseofbmt.org. A list of local parishes that will live stream the private Masses of the priests can be found on that same website.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Beaumont includes nine counties in Southeast Texas: Jefferson, Hardin, Orange, Liberty, Chambers, Polk, Jasper, Tyler and Newton.

In addition, following a request that Pope Francis made at his weekly general audience March 18, Bishop Guillory is asking the Catholic faithful of the Beaumont Diocese to join in praying the luminous mysteries of the Rosary at 9 pm, Thursday, March 19, the feast of St. Joseph.

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