Indiana bishops release statement on the dispensation from the obligation of Sunday Mass attendance
The Catholic bishops throughout the Province of Indianapolis, which is comprised of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the dioceses of Gary, Evansville, Fort Wayne-South Bend and Lafayette, have extended the dispensation from the obligation of Sunday Mass attendance.
On Monday, Aug. 3, a statement was issued by the bishops, which reads:
“While commending our pastors and pastoral life coordinators who have gone to great lengths to assure safe worship spaces in our churches, due to the increase in the COVID-19 cases in our state, the Indiana bishops have decided to extend the dispensation from the obligation of Sunday Mass attendance beyond August 15 until November 1, 2020, unless further developments determine otherwise.”
The Indiana bishops originally suspended public liturgies on March 18, in light of information and recommendations from health officials concerning the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgency to stem the spread of the virus. In a letter to faithful dated March 17, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend stated, “Not being able to attend Mass is very difficult spiritually since the Holy Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ As Catholics, we must do our part to help protect those who could be infected by the virus at public gatherings.
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend resumed public liturgies the weekend of May 23-24, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. While public liturgies resumed, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remained in place until at least Aug. 15. Directives were also put in place to observe social distancing requirements and a mandate given for those in attendance to wear face masks.
Specific liturgical directives and recommendations, as well as remote Mass participation and resource options are available on the diocesan website at www.diocesefwsb.org/covid-19.