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Bishop cancels planned drive-up palms distribution

  • Holy Trinity Church in Greenfield had to cancel its planned drive-through distribution of palms for Palm Sunday. Staff photo/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 4/5/2020 5:59:40 PM

GREENFIELD — Greenfield churches that planned to offer drive-up palm distribution on Saturday were forced to cancel.

“Churches are closed means churches are closed,” said John Leary, deacon at Blessed Sacrament Church in Greenfield.

The Diocese of Springfield, which serves Franklin, Berkshire, Hampden and Hampshire counties, posted an updated directive from Bishop Mitchell Rozanski on April 3 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No distribution of palms is to take place in any form,” according to the directive. “Parishes should retain palms if they have received them for distribution after restrictions are lifted.”

The April 3 directive replaced an earlier one, dated March 23, which allowed palms to be distributed in a private or drive-through manner at the pastor’s discretion.

Drive-up services were scheduled to take place between 2 and 4 p.m. on Saturday at both Blessed Sacrament Church on Federal Street and Holy Trinity Church on Main Street in Greenfield.

Leary said his church asked about offering the palms in bags, but it was ultimately turned down.

Suzette Guilmet, a volunteer at Trinity Church, said she is sad the church has had to close its doors to parishioners for regular church services, especially during the Lenten season.

“It would have been nice to be able to do (the drive-up),” she said. “I’m almost 60 years old, and I’ve never seen Mass canceled.”

Following orders in March from Gov. Charlie Baker that banned all gatherings of 10 people or more, the Diocese of Springfield canceled all church services.

This included restrictions concerning funerals, weddings, and all other sacraments or events held in church buildings.

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-772-0261, ext. 263.

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