Catholics in metro Detroit are now allowed to avoid Mass until Nov. 23 due to the coronavirus, the Archdiocese of Detroit announced Friday. But there are some exceptions to the new rule.
Earlier this year, the archdiocese said that Catholics did not have to attend Mass in person until Sept. 6. On Friday, Archbishop Allen Vigneron extended that by almost two months until the Monday before Thanksgiving.
“In light of the continued spread of the coronavirus in southeast Michigan and the impossibility for parishes to safely accommodate all Catholics for Mass on Sundays, Archbishop Vigneron has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation for all the faithful in the Archdiocese of Detroit, as well as for all travelers during their time within the territory of the Archdiocese of Detroit, until Monday, November 23, 2020,” the Rev.
Stephen Pullis, director of the Department of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship and member of the team advising Vigneron during the pandemic, said in a statement Friday.
However, if you’re a Catholic who is eating out at restaurants, traveling or doing other nonessential activities, the archdiocese said that you should be attending Mass.
“Catholics who engage in other activities that would present a similar or greater risk of contamination (eating out at restaurants, traveling, nonessential shopping, widening one’s circle of contacts, etc.) should begin to return to Sunday Mass as they are able,”
Pullis said. “While one does not commit a mortal sin by absenting one’s self during these days due to the dispensation, one would be deprived of the immeasurable spiritual graces Christ desires for his faithful when they actively participate in the Mass.”
There are more than 1 million Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit, which oversees six counties in southeastern Michigan.
After shutting down in-person services in March, the archdiocese opened up churches for Mass in May.
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Pullis added that while Catholics don’t have to attend Mass, they should still “keep holy” their Sundays by reading holy texts at home.
“While the dispensation from the grave obligation to attend Sunday Mass is in effect, all baptized Catholics are reminded of the grave necessity they have to keep holy the Lord’s Day,” he said in Friday’s statement. “As the day of the Resurrection of our Lord, Christians from the earliest days set Sunday apart as a day unlike others. When it is not possible to participate in person in the Sacrifice of the Mass, it is vitally important for every member of the Catholic Church to nourish his or her soul during these days. This means cultivating a prayer life in their homes, reading Sacred Scripture – especially the prescribed readings for the Sunday Mass – and making Christ the center of one’s home and being his disciple the central identity of one’s life.”