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Scranton Diocese welcomes back parishioners while stressing health, safety

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Bishop Joseph C. Bambera and the Diocese of Scranton are reminding all parishioners of health and safety practices as the obligation for Christians to return to worship on Sundays and Holy Days approaches.

The Diocese of Scranton says it is looking forward to the reinstatement of Sunday Mass and Holy Day celebrations beginning Sunday, August 15, said Bishop Bambera. While excited, Bishop Bambera also wants to stress the importance of a safe environment.

According to a statement, Bambera wants parishioners and the community to make caring for their health, safety, and well-being a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic as members return to church.

“It is now evident that this global health crisis continues to linger – especially with the delta variant – which medical experts explain is more infections, and can spread more aggressively than previous virus strains,” said Bishop Bambera. “I am strongly recommending that all parishioners wear a mask while attending Mass – regardless of vaccination status.

Bishop Bambera encouraged good hygiene practices and asked parishioners to follow the example of all Pennsylvania Bishops in receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

“While I, along with your pastor, look forward to welcoming you back to experience the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist,” said Bishop Bambera. “Individuals who have serious health conditions or concerns will not be obligated to attend Mass.”

According to the bishop, longstanding church law states the Sunday obligation to attend Mass does not apply to those who are: sick, have a serious health risk, in a household with those at risk, primary caregivers to those at risk, have serious anxiety or concerns about being in a large group setting due to the COVID-19 virus or unable to attend Mass in person.

“As an act of charity, anyone who believes they might have COVID-19 or one of its variants should stay home,” Bishop Bambera said. “As we continue to respond to the invitation of Jesus to come to him, I invite all the faithful to safely return to Mass to have an intimate encounter with the Lord.”

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