Bishop Thomas recently released a couple of memos to all the parishes of our diocese with some important information regarding parish/liturgical matters during COVID in the coming months. Below are some excerpts from his memos:
Regarding the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation:
“The faithful are to be reminded that the dispensation to attend Sunday Mass, and Holy Days of Obligation, remains in place for the foreseeable future until you are notified otherwise. Those who are at high risk, especially the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions are to be strongly advised to refrain from Mass attendance out of concern for their own well-being and out of Christian charity for others.”
“Tuesday, December 8, 2020 (Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary), while normally a Holy Day of Obligation, the faithful are dispensed from their obligation to attend Mass this year.”
“Friday, January 1, 2021 (Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God), while normally a Holy Day of Obligation, the faithful are dispensed from their obligation to attend Mass.”
Regarding public Masses in the potential event of another state-wide “stay-at-home” order:
“If a Level 4 (purple) designation is issued for a county, or counties, in the Diocese of Toledo, or were the governor to issue a “stay-at-home” order for the State of Ohio, extra concern and caution is to be employed. Because the Church is deemed essential for the spiritual welfare of souls and realizing that churches have been, and continue to be exempt, parishes in the Diocese of Toledo will continue to celebrate public Masses and liturgies while, of course, observing all the precautions already in place (50% church capacity, wearing of masks/facial coverings, proper social distancing and the sanitization of the church). Pastors/Administrator/Pastoral Leaders are to continue implementing all current or additional federal, state, or local regulations, for the common good, to the best of their prudent, pastoral, and practical ability.”
As always, please feel free to send me any questions you might have as we continue praying our way through the COVID pandemic. Hopefully, the anticipation with which we await Jesus to deliver us from the COVID virus will help us in some way to enter more deeply into the anticipation that notably marks the upcoming Advent season.