There have been rumblings about this over the last couple weeks, and this seems to confirm what I’ve been hearing. So far, I haven’t heard about any diaconal ordinations being postponed, but I suspect that may come soon, as well.
With spring priestly ordinations just around the corner, many dioceses around the U.S. anticipate that state pandemic-related lockdown measures will extend into May and are pushing back their plans, while others are still weighing their options.
In the heart of the nation’s COVID-19 pandemic, Father Christopher Argano, vocations director for the Archdiocese of New York, told Catholic News Service that New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan was in a wait-and-see mode and hoping that plans could remain in place for a May 25 ordination ceremony at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Cardinal Dolan is hoping to ordain one seminarian for the archdiocese and possibly one or two local Franciscan seminarians for their religious order, followed by a June 13 ordination of permanent diaconate that the archdiocese has scheduled.
…In Massachusetts, the Archdiocese of Boston announced that Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley has decided to postpone priestly ordinations until Aug. 1 as a result of the uncertainties surrounding social-distancing restrictions as far as when they can be safely lifted.
The cardinal’s decision was communicated in an emailed letter to priests of the archdiocese, sent March 31 by Father Robert M. Blaney, secretary for ministerial personnel.
“This difficult decision was made out of the real possibility that we may very likely still be in a state of emergency by the middle of May,” Father Blaney said in his letter, which was posted on the archdiocesan website.
In addition to delaying the ordination, Cardinal O’Malley also has reportedly decided to push back the date of new archdiocesan assignments and transfers for most priests “given the logistical challenges of social distancing as well as the great need to provide as much stability in our parishes as possible,” Father Blaney said in his statement.
In his letter, Father Blaney also informed priests the annual spring presbyteral convocation originally scheduled for May 18 will no longer be held as an in-person event, but that Cardinal O’Malley is considering holding a “virtual convocation” on that day.
The Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, which reports having 49 seminarians, with five set to be ordained priests this year and five more as transitional deacons, is waiting to see what happens in the coming weeks.