Bishop Donald Hying temporarily lifts obligation to attend Sunday Mass Print
Around the Diocese
Friday, Mar. 13, 2020 -- 12:00 AM

To diminish the spread of the COVID-19 virus, or the Coronavirus, Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison is issuing a decree, dispensing everyone in the Diocese of Madison from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation until further notice from the bishop.

This means that all Catholics are permitted to miss Mass on Sundays for the foreseeable future, without being concerned that they are neglecting their minimal duties to assist at Mass.

In a statement, Bishop Hying said, "This is not to say that the faithful are prohibited from attending Mass -- no one is obligated to use this dispensation. However, it is encouraged that everyone takes seriously this dispensation and take liberal advantage of it, keeping in mind also the recommendation from the Wisconsin Department of Health to avoid large community gatherings -- particularly large intergenerational gatherings -- at this time. In a particular way, we encourage the elderly and those who are immunocompromised not to attend Mass.

"Obviously, I highly encourage those who decide not to attend Mass to keep up their lives of prayer. In fact, while I am not binding the faithful in this regard, I highly encourage that those people who do not attend Mass undertake some other pious practice in place of Mass. Examples of the types of practices include prayerfully watching the Mass, either televised or on various streaming options, or reciting the rosary or the Liturgy of the Hours.

"At the same time, I strongly urge -- very strongly, in fact -- that priests do not stop saying Masses. The Eucharistic Sacrifice is the source and summit of the Christian life. It is the representation of Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross. It is the most powerful prayer that we can offer now, and we, as the Church, should carry on this prayer. It may make sense for priests to reduce their Mass schedules, but the reduced schedules should be clearly advertised. Further, priests are encouraged to offer the Mass at least daily -- even if one is not publicly scheduled and even if none of the people are present."

To read more of the statement, and see other diocesan updates regarding COVID-19, go the website here.

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