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How San Diego Religious Communities Are Dealing With COVID-19

Imam deals with coronavirus developments at the Islamic Center of San Diego on Mar. 13, 2020.
Erik Anderson
Imam deals with coronavirus developments at the Islamic Center of San Diego on Mar. 13, 2020.

San Diego spiritual leaders are reacting to the growing concern over the COVID-19 situation.

The Catholic Diocese is moving to protect public health, by limiting large crowds in its churches.

Mass will happen this weekend, but crowds will be smaller than 250 people but the large Sunday worship events will not happen.

Diocese spokesman Kevin Eckery said Mass will also be broadcast on the church’s web page.

“We follow the science, here,” Eckery said. “So when it comes to the science and spiritual we want to be guided by the best public health guidelines. And right now, what we’ve been guided by and what people are pointing us toward is that we’re going to be giving dispensation and not requiring people to attend Mass effective this weekend.”

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That limitation on large gatherings will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Churches will extend their operating hours so those who need spiritual guidance can get, according to Eckery.

The Islamic Center of San Diego made the difficult decision on Thursday.

Until further notice, the Mosque will not open for prayers and services.

The school inside the facility is closing Monday and, Iman Taha Hassane said staff will come in every day and they will be available for spiritual counseling, but there will be no large gatherings.

“The safety and the well-being of people is our top priority,” Hassane said. “Even though we believe it’s very important for Muslims to come to the mosque, join the rituals, the prayers, but at times like this, the safety and well being is the top priority.”

The prohibition on prayer services and teaching sessions at the mosque will stay in effect until further notice. Prayer services will be broadcast on Youtube.

The 44 church the Episcopalian Diocese of San Diego is also heeding the call to limit large public gathering and canceling Sunday services.

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Bishop Susan Brown Snook called the decision heartbreaking and not one that was made lightly.

“Worship is at the heart of our identity as Episcopalians, as Christians,” Snook said. “I believe that our worship and our prayer are more than just things that support us in our daily lives. I believe that they are effective in our prayers for the world and our communities.”

Snook is asking Episcopalians to continue to worship and pray at home and in small groups.

The San Diego Jewish Federation is asking for perspective.

A Facebook Page post on Friday afternoon says quote

“Amid all the fears, quarantines and stockpiling of food, it is important to remember that more than 60,000 people have recovered from COVID-19.”

The Federation is working to understand the dynamic needs of the community in an effort to help where they can.

How San Diego Religious Communities Are Dealing With COVID-19
Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.