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Ohio Catholics get ready to head back to in-person Mass starting June 5

St. Aloysius-St. Agatha in Cleveland is ready to welcome parishioners back
Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 2:13 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Bishops of Ohio announced this week that the Catholic community’s general obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation has resumed for the first time since the start of the pandemic as the COVID-19 vaccine has become more accessible.

The reinstatement will take effect in each diocese in Ohio the weekend of June 5-6.

However, those who are ill, have significant health risk factors, care for someone who is immuno-compromised or ill, or have continued fear or anxiety of contracting coronavirus in large groups are exempt as they always have even prior to the pandemic.

The Bishops of Ohio still encourage those who are exempt from going to church to observe Sunday with an online mass broadcast and prayer.

The online masses are not intended to be a substitute nor do they fulfill the obligation of going to mass for those who are able to gather for Sunday celebrations and other Holy Days of Obligation, according to the Bishops of Ohio.

The Bishops of Ohio shared the following statement regarding the reinstatement:

The book of Exodus reminds us to keep holy the Sabbath day (Exodus 20: 8-10). As Catholics, we are invited by God to gather together in community, and participate fully in the Sunday Eucharist, which is the “source and summit of the Christian life.” “Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God’s holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2182).

The obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days is not something God asks of us out of his own necessity to be worshipped, but rather a gift to the faithful for their spiritual well-being, eternal salvation and formation in our relationship with God and one another. To that end, Saint John Vianney rightly asserts, “There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us.” The Eucharist is the greatest gift Christ left to the Church—the gift of Himself. There is no substitute for Mass celebrated in person.

We are profoundly grateful to our pastors and all of the faithful for their flexibility, fidelity and great generosity in support of the mission of the Church throughout this unprecedented time. As we prepare for the reinstatement of the obligation to attend Mass, we are excited once again to gather together in person without restrictions in our parish churches, most fittingly on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. As we reflect on our Lord’s goodness and mercy in the midst of the sacrifices made during the coronavirus pandemic, we ask Saint Joseph to intercede for us, that through his fatherly protection and care, we may experience a renewal of faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

We welcome you back with great joy and eagerness!

Click here to read the full announcement.

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