DETROIT – The Archdiocese of Detroit is urging Catholics to return to mass on Sundays and Holy Days starting March 13, when dispensation from the obligation will expire.
The dispensation from the obligation to attend mass was first issued when coronavirus pandemic swept into Michigan in March 2020. The Archdiocese of Detroit has extended that dispensation several times in the past 10 months, most recently in November when it was announced it would be extended until Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.
Now, Catholics in the Detroit area are being advised to “to return to the heart and foundation of their faith” as they resume other activities. The dispensation will expire Saturday, March 13.
“In allowing the general dispensation to expire, we welcome back to Mass all Catholics who have already been engaged in other activities that would present a similar or greater risk of exposure, such as eating out at restaurants, traveling, partaking in non-essential shopping, and widening one’s circle of contacts. These individuals should also prepare to return to Mass in recognition of its preeminence in our lives as Catholics,” Archbishop Vigneron said in a letter to the faithful. “While particular dispensations will remain for those in need, it is time for us to welcome back more of the faithful with a renewed amazement that we have a God who is so close to us and who has such a deep love for us that he comes to us in flesh and blood.”
Public in-person masses originally were suspended in the Archdiocese last year when the pandemic hit. However, the in-person gatherings did resume in May with limited building capacity, cleaning protocols, and other safety measures. The Archdiocese said the current “liturgical directives” will remain in place, including 50 percent capacity, frequent building sanitation, and requirements for masks and social distancing among the congregants.
“The Archdiocese is committed to assisting pastors to adjust Mass schedules or offer additional public Masses, insofar as possible, to make it easier for as many of the faithful as possible to attend Mass while still practicing social distancing,” reads a statement from the Archdiocese on Tuesday. “In the event that any Catholic approaches a church and is turned away due to the church’s capacity having been reached, he or she has faithfully fulfilled his obligation. To assist in the transition back to the Eucharist, the Archdiocese has updated its www.massfinder.org website to help the faithful easily search for a list of Mass times in their area.”