General dispensation from attending Mass lifted

The Catholic bishops of the Province of Baltimore and the Archdiocese of Washington announced Tuesday, June 2, that the general dispensation of the Sunday and holy days Mass obligation has been lifted, and that the obligation to attend Mass has been reinstated effective Saturday, June 26 and Sunday, June 27.

This decision applies to Catholics in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Dioceses of Arlington, Richmond, Wheeling-Charleston and Wilmington.

Referencing Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the bishops stated, “We welcome and encourage the faithful to return to full in-person participation of the Sunday Eucharist, the source and summit of our Catholic faith.”

The bishops also stated, “This obligation does not apply to those who are ill; those who have reason to believe that they were recently exposed to the coronavirus, another serious or contagious illness; those who are confined to their home, a hospital, or nursing facility; or those with serious underlying health conditions.”

In a letter to priests in the Diocese of Richmond that accompanied the provincial statement, Bishop Barry C. Knestout wrote, “As Catholics, we have a significant appreciation for the importance of the physical presence of the community. From its earliest days, the Church gathered and ‘devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread’ (Acts 2:42).

“As the Body of Christ, the Church, we encounter the living God most fully in the Sacraments which appeal to our whole being, through outward signs. Therefore, it is important that we continue to encourage the presence of the Catholic faithful at Mass and at the other sacraments.”

Those with questions are asked to consult their pastors.

You can read the joint statement here.

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