Church in Somerville cancels classes, events due to COVID-19

Church partially closes after COVID-19 cases

SOMERVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - St. Philip the Apostle Church has canceled classes and shut down part of the church due to this one positive case.

According to a Facebook post Father Robert Favazza who leads St. Philip the Apostle Church in Somerville has tested positive for COVID-19.

As a precautionary measure, the church’s office will be closed for two weeks.

All weekday masses, classes and events have also been canceled.

Rick Ouellette with the Catholic Diocese of Memphis says three staff members who worked in the office are quarantining. He also says the diocese sends out a new decree every month with guidelines all 46 parishes should follow.

“You know there’s other things that we just gotta make sure that we’re not doing because we want to follow all the rules and regulations that are held to us by the local, state and federal officials,” said Ouellette.

Ouellette says they will always air on the side of caution and that’s why they have continued to offer virtual services.

“We love people coming to church and worshiping, but we want to make sure that if you feel sick at all, that you feel like you can’t come to church. Well, we do have masses available online that you can do your worshiping,” said Ouellette.

Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Steve Threlkeld says places of worship haven’t been a concern for spreading the virus but are places where it can spread easily.

“These places of worship are almost all indoors, and so that’s sort of another strike against us as we look at this. Singing happens there and that’s a very very bad idea for spreading this virus. You have to be careful about passing around common items,” said Threlkeld.

Weekend masses will continue to take place, the diocese says they have brought in a different pastor to lead mass on the weekends.

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