ALBUQUERQUE — Officials with New Mexico’s largest Catholic diocese say parishes will be cautiously joining other entities as part of the state’s phased reopening plan.

Archbishop John C. Wester of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe said based on the governor’s latest order, parishes in Central and Northern New Mexico will begin resuming normal operations this weekend. Under the first phase of lifting the suspension of publicly attended Mass, attendance will be limited to 25 percent of a building’s capacity under an order the governor announced Friday. Masks, social distancing and increased cleaning also will be mandatory.

“It is of paramount importance to be reminded that the church values everyone’s safety and well-being. Life is sacred and we are taking every precaution to protect our people from the coronavirus," Wester said in a statement.

Live-streamed and recorded Mass will still be offered, and local pastors can take more stringent action depending on the local conditions as some parts of the state have been been hit harder by COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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