Lifting the Dispensation from the Obligation to Attend Mass
Statement of the Bishops of the Province of Baltimore and the Archdiocese of Washington
Lifting the General Dispensation from the Obligation to Attend Mass
We, the Catholic Bishops of the Province of Baltimore and the Archdiocese of Washington, give thanks to Almighty God for the progress our country has made in curbing the coronavirus pandemic. The average number of new cases of COVID-19 continues to decline due to the observance of safety protocols and the increase of the availability of the vaccine. At this time, many places in our region are enjoying a return to some sense of normalcy.
Therefore, we are lifting the dispensation of the Sunday and Holy Days Mass obligation in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Dioceses of Arlington, Richmond, Wheeling-Charleston, and Wilmington and reinstating that obligation beginning on Saturday, June 26, 2021, and Sunday, June 27, 2021. We welcome and encourage the Faithful to return to full in-person participation of the Sunday Eucharist, the source and summit of our Catholic faith (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 1246-1247, and Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2180).
This obligation does not apply to those who are ill; those who have reason to believe that they were recently exposed to the coronavirus, or another serious or contagious illness; those who are confined to their home, a hospital, or nursing facility; or those with serious underlying health conditions. One should consult his or her local pastor if questions arise about the obligation to attend Mass (canon 1245 and Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2181).
Safety protocols and other liturgical directives in each diocese remain in effect until modified or revoked by the respective Diocesan Bishop.
Let us continue to be united in prayer for one another and for an end to the global pandemic.
Given on June 2, 2021
Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Washington
Most Reverend William E. Lori
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Baltimore
Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop, Diocese of Arlington
Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout
Bishop, Diocese of Richmond
Most Reverend Mark E. Brennan
Bishop, Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston
Most Reverend William Francis Malooly
Apostolic Administrator, Diocese of Wilmington