The Diocese of Duluth has suspended all public celebrations of Mass through May 4, mirroring the period in which Gov. Tim Walz has told Minnesotans to stay home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Diocesan Administrator James Bissonette on Tuesday extended measures put in place in March, dispensing the obligation for local Catholics to attend services and canceling all gatherings of more than 10 people.

Priests will still be allowed to hold private Masses; churches can remain open for individual prayer; confession is to remain available; and pastoral care of the sick will continue "as much as possible," a news release said.

The extension of the order will particularly affect first communions and confirmations, which typically occur in the spring and will need to be rescheduled, Bissonette said.

"These past days have given us all a greater appreciation of the many gifts our loving God shares with us, especially to gather with family and friends, to gather as people of faith, and to receive the Lord in Holy Communion," Bissonette wrote in a letter to parishioners and clergy. "Until the day we will be able to return to these blessings, we keep faith.

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"Please continue to pray for victims of this pandemic, their loved ones and their caregivers."