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Bishop of Baton Rouge says Catholics must return to Sunday mass on June 6 and ends mask requirement

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 8:28 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Bishop Michael Duca with the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, issued a letter on Friday, May 21, that states the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation in the Diocese of Baton Rouge will expire on June 6, which is the Feast of Corpus Christi.

Bishop Duca says, “It will be the serious obligation of those who are capable to attend Sunday Mass in person.”

“During the pandemic, bishops across the world lifted that requirement, so that people did not feel that they had to be at church. It wasn’t really safe for us to gather. So that’s being lifted, that first weekend of June. Which will say to our Catholic friends, it’s time to come back, it’s time to come home,” said Fr. Michael Alello, pastor at St. Thomas More.

Canon Law states that, “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.”

And according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.”

Priests like Alello, are just excited to see everyone back in their churches.

“Can’t wait to have people back. I’m just even waiting for Lester (Duhe’) to come to mass with us, it’s going to be awesome,” said Fr. Allello.

In Bishop Duca’s letter, he added masks will no longer be required to attend masks but it is still recommended for those who are more vulnerable to the virus.

The letter reads, “Further, in concert with recently issued guidelines from Governor Edwards and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), masks will no longer be required to attend Mass. It is still recommended, however, that masks still be worn by those who are more vulnerable to the virus. Most of the other COVID directives previously promulgated are also abrogated, but pastors, at their discretion, will make decisions on a local level about their “return to normal operations” after weighing his own parish’s particular circumstances.”

This news came to the delight of priests like Fr. Michael Alello at St. Thomas More this past weekend.

“Because in many ways, it (this past Sunday) was a rebirth for the church, it was wonderful, I told people as I got to look out and see faces for the first time, in I can’t even tell you, it seems like forever.. It was just wonderful to see people smiling and excited. And what more better weekend, than Pentecost weekend,” said Fr. Michael Alello, pastor at St. Thomas More Catholic Church.

The letter was read at all Masses throughout the diocese Saturday and Sunday.

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