Massachusetts

Massachusetts Roman Catholics Called Back to Mass

Houses of worship have either been closed or open under capacity limits for the past year because of the coronavirus pandemic

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Roman Catholics across Massachusetts are being called back to Sunday Mass.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston as well as the bishops of Springfield and Fall River in similar statements Wednesday announced that the faithful are once again required to attend Mass starting the weekend of June 19-20.

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Houses of worship have either been closed or open under capacity limits for the past year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and services have either been broadcast or held remotely.

O'Malley said Father's Day was an appropriate time to lift the dispensation of the Sunday Mass obligation.

"In this year of Saint Joseph, who was always a faithful observer of the sabbath, we chose Father's Day as an appropriate day to encourage all of our people, and especially our families, to return to the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist," he said in his letter to parishioners.

Despite criticism, parents tell NBC10 Boston they are looking forward to in-person learning.

Mass is a central part of being Catholic, Springfield Bishop William Byrne said.

"The benefit of that is every time we go to Mass, we encounter Jesus Christ, we get to be together, we get to celebrate the obligation and the goodness of keeping the sabbath holy," he said.

The obligation to attend Mass does not apply to those who are ill or homebound, the bishops said.

"To all of those who have not been able to be with us during this last year, we look forward to welcoming you back to the celebration of the Mass," Fall River Bishop Edgar da Cunha said.

Worcester Bishop Robert McManus restored the Mass obligation for his parishioners last month.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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