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Churches are responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak in New York by making changes to their worship schedules and requirements.

Roman Catholics in the Diocese of Rockville Centre are “dispensed from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass” for the next three weekends,” the diocese announced Friday.

The dispensation comes as a health precaution, the diocese said in a statement. Churches will remain open and Mass schedules will remain mostly unchanged.

The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island has suspended all public worship from March 14 through at least March 26, the Rt. Rev. Lawrence Provenzano announced Friday.

The Catholic diocese urged “everyone who is sick, elderly, or vulnerable because of a medical condition, to remain at home,” the diocese said. “People in these categories are not obliged to attend Mass.”

Mass schedules and availability, as well as parish and diocesan events may change, especially if our clergy is affected by illness, the Diocese of Rockville Centre said in a statement. Residents should check their parish website for updates, as well as the diocese’s social media (Facebook:@RVCdiocese; Twitter: @RVCDiocese) and webpage (

North Shore Christian Church services on March 15 are canceled at the church, but a video of our service will be posted on Facebook and Vimeo on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. 9:45 a.m. and 11 a.m., the church announced on its Facebook page.

“Be sure to stay connected to us on social media and our website for more information regarding service times and other ministries as they are being handled on a case-by-case basis. We look forward to worshipping together soon.”

The Sunday service at First Baptist Church of Riverhead will go on as scheduled, the church said in a statement.

“We are taking all necessary precautions in maintaining a safe and healthy environment for worship,” the church said. “We have ample space to maintain community distancing.”

In addition to the regular morning worship, the church will hold its annual Deacons Day Service and will serve the congregation a meal in between, in two seatings — one at 1:30 p.m. and another at 2:45 p.m.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.