NJ Catholic churches are following state lead, no reopening set
NEWARK — Amid a growing number of challenges to New Jersey directives on its gradual reopening during the pandemic, the state's Catholic churches continue to follow Gov. Phil Murphy's guidelines.
"No official announcement has been made by the Archdiocese on this matter. We have complied, and will continue to comply, with statewide guidelines," Archdiocese of Newark spokeswoman Maria Margiotta said Wednesday after The Jersey Journal reported had reported on an internal email mentioning a June 1 goal of reopening churches for daily masses and limited-capacity funerals, weddings and baptisms.
"As is true with many organizations statewide, the Archdiocese of Newark is making plans in anticipation of certain restrictions being lifted," Margiotta explained.
"Any tentative reopening date will be conducted according to the guidelines provided by state officials, and according to the ability of each individual parish to safely accommodate any changes in policy."
The Archdiocese, which serves 1.4 million Catholics in Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Union counties, previously began opening churches for private prayers, no gatherings, as of May 17.
Similiarly, the Diocese of Trenton announced private prayers could resume May 13, “or when pastors determine it is safe.”
A pair of churches in Camden County were cited for holding Sunday indoor services in violation of Murphy's executive orders. Solid Rock Baptist Church in Berlin and Bible Baptist Church in Clementon each held two services that exceeded the current limit of 10 people gathered indoors and received those disorderly persons summonses Tuesday.
“We’re not holding back for some, some crazy reason — we’re holding back because we want to do it responsibly and we don’t want to kill anybody,” Murphy said when asked Tuesday about churches violating the continued restrictions.
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