FALL RIVER — Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., has issued a letter announcing that the Fall River Diocese will be among several dioceses in the region to lift the general dispensation from the obligation of Catholics to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days, beginning the weekend of June 19 and 20. The dispensation was put in place in March 2020 at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Aware that the opportunity to participate in Sunday Mass is increasingly available and increasingly safe for our Catholic people, we are joining dioceses in the Boston Province, (Boston, Fall River, Springfield, Manchester, and Portland) in lifting the dispensation of the Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligation,” Bishop da Cunha writes in his letter to the faithful of the Fall River Diocese.
The decision to reinstate the Sunday Mass obligation was made collectively by the region’s bishops in light of the declining COVID infection rate, the increasing number of persons receiving the COVID vaccine, and the state’s lifting of pandemic restrictions.
Bishop da Cunha acknowledges the pain and suffering experienced by so many over the past year, the immense loss of life, and the continuing long-term effects of the virus.
“Now we are able to join together remembering the lives changed and sacrifices made,” he says. “Let us gather together again in joy, as one people united around the Eucharist.”
The letter explains that the bishops saw Father’s Day weekend as an appropriate time to encourage Catholic faithful, especially families, to return to the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, the center of every Catholic life.
In closing, Bishop da Cunha writes, “To all of those who have not been able to be with us during this year, we look forward to welcoming you back to the celebration of Mass.”
The reinstated obligation to attend Mass does not apply to those who are ill, recently exposed to COVID-19 or other communicable illnesses, those confined to their homes or other facilities for various reasons, and those who are not able to be vaccinated for specific reasons.
Read Bishop da Cunha’s letter in its entirety here.
Watch Bishop da Cunha’s video message here.