GREEN BAY, Wis. (Sept. 10, 2020) – Bishop David L. Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay announced this week the reinstatement of the Sunday Mass obligation effect the weekend of September 19-20.
Lifting of the dispensation was announced in a decree issued by Bishop Ricken on Monday, Sept. 7. In the decree the Bishop states, “With Christian joy and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the time has come for Catholics to return to worship God at Mass on Sundays. He goes on to say, “Now, since the dispensation from the obligation to worship at Mass on Sunday is no longer strictly necessary, the faithful will once again be morally obligated to come to Mass on Sundays throughout the diocese.”
Beginning on March 13, 2020, Catholics were granted a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass due to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. A few days later, on March 17th, 2020, the public celebration of Mass was suspended throughout the diocese and the dispensation from the Sunday obligation was extended indefinitely. At that time, many parishes throughout the 16 counties of the diocese moved to a livestream format for Masses, and Bishop Ricken began a broadcast Sunday Mass on WFRV Local 5.
Even with the reinstatement of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, it is important to note there are occasions when the obligation does not apply:
- If individual Catholics struggle with serious health concerns or are physically or morally prevented from worshipping at Mass for a grave reason
- If individuals are frail due to illness or age or, in their well-formed conscience believe that going into public places -- including Sunday worship at Mass -- would place their health or the health of their loved ones in serious jeopardy
- If individuals are sick, or have been in contact with someone who has been sick
The faithful who are unable to attend Mass are nevertheless urged to make holy the Lord’s Day and to pray, read the Scriptures, and take part in acts of charity.
The diocese also issued guidelines for public Masses at www.gbdioc.org/sundayobligationreinstatement. These guidelines make clear that face masks are still required, and that, while restrictions will be lifted on the percentage of people at Mass, the standards of social distancing will still be upheld.
The obligation to attend Mass for Catholics reflects our faith in Jesus Christ, the blessing of the Holy Eucharist and an acknowledgment of His great love for us. All are welcome.
Who we are: As friends and followers of Jesus, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay is devoted to fostering households and communities of discipleship through the mission and ministry of the Catholic Church. We are missionary disciples striving to lead all people to the Kingdom of God. Established in 1868, the diocese is composed of 324,000 Catholics in 16 counties: Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Forest, Kewaunee, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago.