The general dispensation from the obligation to assist at Sunday Mass was originally set to expire Feb. 17, Ash Wednesday, but Vigneron extended it until March 13, Detroit Catholic reported.
Though the general dispensation will expire, certain particular dispensations will be granted, Vigneron said. Particular dispensations will be granted to those with underlying conditions or in a high-risk category; those exhibiting flu-like symptoms; those who have good reason to think they might be asymptomatic of a contagious illness (e.g., they were in recent contact with someone who tested positive for a contagious illness such as COVID or influenza); those who care for the sick, homebound, or infirmed; pregnant women; those 65 or older; those who cannot attend Mass through no fault of their own (e.g., no Mass is offered, they are infirmed, or, while wanting to go, they are prevented for some reason you cannot control (e.g., their ride did not show up, the church was at capacity)); and those who have significant fear or anxiety of becoming ill by being at Mass.
Churches in the archdiocese will remain limited to 50% capacity, and mask and social distancing requirements will remain.
Vigneron acknowledged and thanked parishes for their efforts to stream Mass online in the past year, but cautioned that watching a broadcast of Mass "cannot become the norm."
"God did not come to us virtually. He came to us - and continues to come to us - in the flesh. As Catholics, unmediated contact with the Real Presence of the flesh and blood of Our Lord in offering this sacrifice to the Father is irreplaceable and essential," he wrote.
"It is during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that the saving death and resurrection of Jesus is made present to us, our covenant with Our Lord is renewed, and God, in the person of Jesus Christ, comes to us and makes himself truly present for us in his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. It is an irreplaceable gift; a foretaste of Heaven itself."