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Diocese of Harrisburg to reinstate Mass obligation in August

The obligation to attend Mass was put on hold in March 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Editor's note: The above video is from Bishop Gainer's installation in 2014.

Rev. Ronald W. Gainer, Bishop of Harrisburg, has announced that all Catholics in the Diocese of Harrisburg are to return to in-person Mass effective August 15, according to a press release. This goes for all Sundays and Holy Days. 

The obligation to attend Mass was put on hold in March 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Bishop Gainer, the pandemic has "greatly reduced," causing the restoration of the obligation.

The obligation does not, however, apply to those who are seriously ill or have a serious health risk, such as those who are receiving therapies that may reduce immunity, like chemotherapy or radiation. The obligation also does not apply to those who may be experiencing "serious anxiety" caused by large groups as a result of the past year-and-a-half. Those who are caring for sick individuals who are not able to attend Mass are also not required to attend in-person.

"Catholics who meet these criteria are urged to spend time in prayer, meditating on the Death and Resurrection of the Lord, reading the Sacred Scriptures, and viewing a broadcast of the Mass," the press release said.  

“This has been a time of hardship and struggle, of separation and isolation that has impacted our lives of faith as well," Bishop Gainer said. "Now the time has come for everyone to return joyfully to the celebration of the Eucharist with thanksgiving and renewed faith." 

The Diocese of Harrisburg encompasses 89 parishes across 15 counties in Central Pennsylvania.

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