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San Xavier Mission suspends mass, visitation

San Xavier Mission suspends mass, visitation

From the Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: 665 cases in Arizona, COVID-19 deaths in Pima County rise to 4 series
Mission San Xavier del Bac

Mission San Xavier is an active parish that welcomes over 200,000 visitors a year. It is a beauty — whether you’re visiting for your first time or your hundredth.

Mission San Xavier will close for masses and visitors starting 10 a.m. Saturday, the Diocese of Tucson said.

San Xavier’s pastor, Father Bill Minkel, after consulting with Tucson’s Bishop Edward Weisenburger, decided the large number of parishioners and tourists at the church created a potentially higher risk situation for the spread of COVID-19, the diocese said. The diocese is looking into the possibility of providing mass at a larger, off-site location.

The diocese will announce on their website when San Xavier reopens to the public, the news release said. No other Tucson catholic churches have canceled mass so far, said Steff Koeneman, spokeswoman for the diocese.

Weisenburger also recently issued health protocols and told parishioners it’s OK to miss Sunday Mass if they are sick.

Other area churches have also cancelled worship services due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Desert Hills Lutheran Church in Green Valley canceled all worship services, meetings and events through March 24.

Pantano Christian Church moved to online-only services for at least two weeks and cancelled all on-campus meetings through March 28.

Contact reporter Stephanie Casanova at scasanova@tucson.com. On Twitter: @CasanovaReports

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