Diocesan Priest Tests Positive for COVID-19; Another Priest in Quarantine

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Bishop Mark Bartchak has been informed of situations involving two diocesan priests and the coronavirus pandemic.

Reverend Matthew Baum, Administrator of Prince of Peace Parish in Northern Cambria, has tested positive for COVID-19. Father Baum did not celebrate Mass at the parish this weekend, and he will remain in quarantine until further notice.

The parish’s main worship site, 811 Chestnut Avenue, is undergoing additional cleaning. In place of weekend Masses and until further notice, Communion services will be offered by the parish’s deacon at the Prince of Peace chapel site, 2410 Campbell Avenue. The deacon has not had recent contact with Father Baum, and Father Baum has not been present at the chapel site in the past week.

The parish’s turkey dinner, scheduled for November 8, is postponed until further notice. Please consult the parish regarding the status of other activities.

Additionally, Reverend Brian Warchola, Pastor of Holy Name Parish in Ebensburg, has had recent contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution, Father Warchola is seeking the appropriate testing and will remain in quarantine until further notice. 

Holy Name Parish is undergoing additional cleaning, and a visiting priest is celebrating Masses. Please consult the parish for updates.

Bishop Bartchak is monitoring the situations with Father Baum and Father Warchola. He offers prayers for both priests and the Prince of Peace and Holy Name faith communities.

The Bishop continues to direct all clergy and faithful to wear masks and practice physical distancing at all Masses and other parish activities. 

The obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day Masses remains waived until further notice. The Proclaim! TV Mass from Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown is broadcast live every Sunday at 11:00 a.m. on WATM ABC 23 and rebroadcast every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on Atlantic Broadband channel 9. Various parishes also live-stream or post Masses on their website or social media.