Washington D.C., May 17, 2021 / 18:00 pm
Some Catholic dioceses have begun updating their COVID protocols for public Masses, as federal public health officials have introduced new guidance.
The new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued on May 13, states that fully vaccinated people “can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
The guidance specifies that a person is considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
On the same day the CDC published its new guidance, the Catholic Conference of Ohio announced that it would lift its general dispensation from the Sunday obligation on the weekend of June 5.
Catholics are obligated to attend Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, except for grave reasons. Bishops throughout the United States granted general dispensations from the obligation during the pandemic, but some dioceses began lifting the dispensation beginning in August 2020.
People who have significant risk factors or are ill will still be exempt from the obligation to attend Sunday mass, the Ohio Catholic Conference clarified.
“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,” the state’s bishops wrote in a joint letter.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati will also lift its own mask mandate at churches as of June 2, the day the state of Ohio’s updated mask guidance goes into effect. Other dioceses in the state indicated they would likewise follow the state’s mask recommendations.