Pennsylvania Dioceses to restore Sunday Mass obligation

Local News

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Diocese of Scranton announced on Thursday that a date has been set for the Sunday Mass obligation to be restored.

A release from the Scranton Diocese says exactly one month from Thursday, August 15, the Sunday Mass obligation will be reinstated in each diocese in Pennsylvania, including the Scranton Diocese.

Those who are seriously ill or have a serious health risk, and those who have significant fear or anxiety of being part of a large group will continue to be excused from participation in Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, the press release states.

The following letter is attached from Bishop of Scranton, Joseph C. Bambera:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

For more than a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed unique challenges in our lives. It has
brought hardship and struggle to some – separation, anxiety and isolation to others. We pray for
those who have been directly affected by the virus, those that are still impacted by its effects and
those who have lost loved ones.

Since March 2020, there has been a dispensation in the Diocese of Scranton from the obligation to
participate at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. In light of the continued decline in
cases and hospitalizations locally, that dispensation will end on Sunday, August 15, 2021, the
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This change will occur in each diocese
in Pennsylvania on the same date.

The Sunday celebration of Mass is the center of the Church’s life. The importance – and necessity
– to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is rooted in our Baptism as Christians. Baptism
compels us, as Christians, to unite ourselves with Christ at the altar in his saving Sacrifice of the
Cross. Put simply, attending Mass is an encounter with Our Risen Lord.

This is a moment to thank God anew for the great gift of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus
to us in His Holy Body and Blood as well as the joy of gathering together as people of faith.
As Pope Francis reminded us in his 2013 Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, “The joy of
the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” Long before we knew a pandemic
was on the horizon, the Holy Father reminded us the Sunday encounter gives us the strength to
experience the present with confidence and courage and to go forth with hope.

I invite and encourage all of the faithful in our community – including those who may have left
the Church long before the pandemic – to return to the Table of the Lord – and be nourished by
the Bread of Life! Our participation at Mass in-person is a gift for our own spiritual well-being,
happiness and eternal salvation. It is also our responsibility to our brothers and sisters with
whom we journey in faith.

It is important to note that people who are seriously ill or have a serious health risk, as well as
those who have significant fear or anxiety of being part of a large group will continue to be
legitimately excused from participating in Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. Those individuals
are still encouraged to spend time in prayer, meditating on the Death and Resurrection of the
Lord, reading Sacred Scripture and uniting themselves to Christ in his worship of the Father of
us all.

Please continue to pray for all of our clergy and religious – who work tirelessly to make sure our
parish communities remain safe and vibrant!

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.
Bishop of Scranton

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