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COVID-19: NY Archdiocese Cancels Masses At All Its Churches, Cuomo Modifies Election Procedures

St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Patrick's Cathedral Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The political process and religion have become the latest aspects of everyday life to feel the effects of the growing spread of the novel strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Archdiocese of New York announced Saturday, March 14 that, effective immediately, it is canceling, until further notice, all masses in its jurisdiction — including New York City, as well as Westchester, Putnam, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Dutchess counties.

The decision, made during the church's most solemn season, affects 296 parishes. 

Churches will, however, remain open for private prayer. 

“Let us pray for all who are sick, as well as doctors, nurses, caregivers, and all those working hard to combat the disease," Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said. "We should also remember those whose lives have been otherwise disrupted, especially anyone who has lost income from a loss of work during this difficult time.”

A private Mass will be celebrated in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and will be available on many cable systems via the Catholic Faith Network and its website at, live-streamed on the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral website at, and broadcast on radio on The Catholic Channel of Sirius XM (Channel 129).

Gob. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Saturday that temporarily modifies election procedures to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The executive order suspends the candidate petitioning process —  effective 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17 — for the June primaries for congressional, state senate, state assembly and judicial races.

The executive order also modifies the signature requirements for ballot access; candidates will only need to collect 30 percent of the statutory threshold. 

For Congress, candidates would need 375 signatures rather than 1,250. 

For State Senate, candidates would need 300 signatures rather than 1,000. 

For Assembly, candidates would only need 150 signatures rather than 500.

"Public health experts have been clear that one of the most common ways to communicate COVID-19 is through direct person to person contact, and we are doing everything in our immediate power to reduce unnecessary interactions," Cuomo said. "This executive order modifies the election process in a way that both protects public health and ensures the democratic process remains healthy and strong regardless of the ongoing pandemic."

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