Father John’s Message

Fr. John Gerritts  |   

20 September 2020

This past week our Bishop, Bishop Powers, issued a letter in which he stated, “Although it may not be possible or prudent for some to attend the public celebration of the Mass, thanks be to God, there no longer seems to be reason that rises to the seriousness of a general dispensation for all the faithful. Therefore with this letter, I am revoking the dispensation which excused all the faithful the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation effective the weekend of September 26 and 27. As I stated above, the ending of this dispensation does not necessarily mean you as an individual do not have just cause for not attending Mass without incurring serious sin.”

He continues, “Some of you who are still dispensed from Mass would be anyone:

• who has tested positive for COVID-19, or come in contact with someone who has tested positive in the past 14 days,
• is running a fever,
• has a cough or who has COVID/flu like symptoms,
• who is in the ‘at risk’ category due to:
• age 60 or older
• compromised immune system
• diabetes
• serious heart condition
• or if you believe attending Mass would pose an undue risk to other family members such as elderly parents you are caring for is dispensed,
• who tried to attend Mass but was turned away due to lack of room because of the limitation placed due to social distancing would be dispensed even if they could attend another Mass without extreme difficulty.”

About the notion of “obligation”, our Bishop writes, “Our Catholic Faith teaches us that the obligation to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation is paramount to who we are. I pray as you read the word “obligation” that it is not being read as a heavy burden of some kind being imposed on you, but rather as your true love response to the total, pure love our God has for each one of us. The Second Vatican Council so clearly teaches us that; full and active participation in the Mass is the primary and indispensable source and summit of the Christian life.”

If you would like to read the full text of our Bishop’s letter, go to our website or parish Facebook page.

If you have questions as to whether in good conscience you are unsure of having a just cause for being dispensed from Mass, please contact me. Regarding our guidelines for attending Mass, we have more information in this bulletin, on our website, and on our parish Facebook page.