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Springfield Diocese lifts Mass exemption because of COVID

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SPRINGFIELD — Bishop Thomas John Paprocki announced on Thursday that the exemption from the obligation to attend Mass will end for Catholics in the Diocese of Springfield as of Saturday.

That day is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The exemption, which was first put in place during shutdowns due to COVID-19, ended for most Catholics on April 11, but remained in place for those over 65 or whose health placed them in greater danger.

With the state's COVID-19 numbers falling and the state returning to full capacity as of June 11, Paprocki said, all Catholics are once again obligated to attend Mass weekly and on holy days. Those are who are ill or who believe they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 are excused without a need for formal dispensation.

People who feel their safety would be compromised by attending in person should speak to their parish priest and request an individual exemption, the church said.  

"I pray that those who have not done so will return to full, active participation in the Mass," Paprocki said. "It is essential to be physically present celebrating with the community of faith and receiving the real presence of our Lord into our hearts in the holy Eucharist.”

The reverend Joe Molloy gives the communion blessing during Saturday's Feast of the Ascension communion at Holy Family Catholic Church. The church has been implementing social-distancing communions, only offering bread for communion.

Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter


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