When the coronavirus pandemic began, the El Paso Catholic Diocese closed churches. Weddings, funerals, Masses, and gatherings of any kind were put on hold. Bishop Mark Seitz began saying Sunday Mass on tv, and things stayed that way for months until early June. The Bishop said that he would not allow reopening of the Diocese facilities until it was safe to do so and until churches could follow social distancing and sanitizing guidelines.

Bishop Seitz did allow Phase Two reopening of the Diocese facilities that included churches where disinfection and social distancing could be strictly followed being allowed to reopen for limited hours during the day for personal prayer. Confession could also be scheduled as long as protocols were followed but when COVID-19 numbers spiked, he shut everything back down for a few weeks.

Now, the Bishop is going back to a Phase Two reopening. Here's what that means:

1. Daily Mass can now be said as long as disinfection and social distancing guidelines are strictly followed, but only to 25% capacity.

2. Baptisms, weddings, funerals, and Eucharistic exposition is allowed for 1–2 hours as well as prayer during the day are also now allowed to 25% capacity.

3. No Sunday Mass for now. Once the Bishop feels that individual parishes can follow social distancing guidelines and sanitization procedures, Sunday Masses could be coming back.

Not all churches are going to be able to follow these guidelines for whatever reason so you should definitely call ahead to your parish and make sure they are going to be reopening. You might also ask if they could use a donation of cleaning supplies so they can have those on hand to help with their reopening.

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