DETROIT – For months, mass at St. Clare Montefalco Parish in Grosse Pointe Park has been different in many ways, but still celebrated weekly.
“People have gotten pretty used to things by now,” said parishioner and Leadership Director Bill Harrington. “We socially distance, we wear masks, we use hand sanitizer.”
For those who don’t feel comfortable coming to church in person, the Archbishop of Detroit, Rev. Allen Vigneron, extended a blessing.
Announced on Friday, the dispensation from the obligation to attend mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation was extended to Ash Wednesday, Feb, 17, 2021.
In a statement, Vigneron said, “This extension is given so as not to unduly bind the consciences of those who are greatly troubled by the destructive potency of the coronavirus and to care for the most vulnerable among us, such as the elderly.”
“I think it was the responsible move,” Harrington said.
Harrington said that in his opinion, the dispensation is warranted for those in the high-risk category even with the holy Christmas holiday around the corner.
“You can’t be negative. We are all dealing with this,” he said. “You have to be creative in how you go about it.”
Harrington said the offerings to St. Clare have remained steady due to generosity of parishioners. He knows other churches without many people in the pews that will feel the effects financially if they haven’t already.
Vigneron also said in the statement that this dispensation is not overarching. Catholics should not use it as an excuse not to attend mass. Those Catholics who are already engaging in non-essential activities like eating out, should go to mass. Those who stay at home should keep holy the Lord’s Day by reading scripture or watching mass virtually.