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By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency, April 15, 2020

This story is developing and has been updated.

– The Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico, has lifted a diocesan ban on the public celebration of Mass, issued guidelines for distribution of Holy Communion, and told priests they may resume sacramental ministry if they follow state-ordered health precautions.

“We [as priests] have been called by Christ and ordained to serve the people of the Diocese of Las Cruces, to bring them hope and consolation during this difficult time,” Bishop Peter Baldacchino wrote in a letter dated April 15 and obtained by CNA.

The announcement came days after New Mexico’s governor banned gatherings of more than 5 people, a restriction Baldacchino said priests must observe, even as the bishop expressed his objection to it.

Baldacchino is the first U.S. bishop known to have amended a previously declared diocesan ban on public Masses since the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the U.S. last month. ….

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