Obligation to attend Mass for Pennsylvania Catholics to resume in August: Bishops

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days will resume in Philadelphia, and all of Pennsylvania, next month.

Rev. Nelson Perez, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and the state's bishops made the announcement on Thursday.

"As many aspects of life are now returning to normalcy, each Catholic Bishop in Pennsylvania will reinstate the obligation to attend Mass in person on Sundays and Holy Days beginning on Sunday, August 15, 2021, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary," the statement read.

Pennsylvania's eight dioceses lifted the obligation in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the state's limits on gatherings.

The state has since lifted all of its COVID-19 restrictions. The Pennsylvania Department of Health said Wednesday the trend in the 14-day moving average number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients continues to drop. Statewide percent positivity for the week of July 2 to July 8 stood at 1.2%.

"Now, with the impact of the pandemic considerably reduced, it is again possible for the faithful to assemble for the Eucharist. It is time to lift the dispensation from the obligation," Perez said.

In his statement, Perez said the obligation does not apply to those who are seriously ill, have a serious health risk, as well as those who have serious anxiety about being part of large groups at this time. It also does not apply to caretakers of those who cannot attend Mass in person.

"As Bishops, we welcome this moment of the reinstatement of the obligation for all Catholics in Pennsylvania," Perez said.

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The video featured in the player above is from "Inside Story" from March 28, 2021.
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