bishop urges return to Sunday mass | Pandemic 2020


Bishop Christopher Coyne, of the Diocese of Burlington, announced the return of the “Sunday obligation” of Mass starting this statutory holiday weekend.

The decision was announced in a letter to the Catholic community read at mass last weekend.

Every Catholic who has reached “the age of reason” is again obliged to attend Sunday mass, according to a statement sent by the Diocese of Burlington on Monday.

Calls to the diocese for comment on Monday were not returned.

“My hope is that all of us who are Catholics see attending Sunday Mass as something we want to do, not something we have to do. It is a sacred obligation that we freely choose, ”Coyne said in a statement. Coyne added that Catholics should “do their utmost” to attend Sunday services.

Coyne noted circumstances, such as illness, injury, and challenges due to mobility or age, when a Catholic cannot be present on Sunday.

More recently, concerns about the personal safety of church members, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have prevented in-person services.

The statement noted that these concerns are present for many.

This month, Gov. Phil Scott lifted Vermont’s mask mandate and state of emergency after a majority of Vermonters were vaccinated. However, almost 20% of eligible adults have still not been vaccinated.

Coyne said children who have not been vaccinated and those whose health is compromised, as well as their caregivers, may choose not to attend Sunday mass.

According to the statement, most parishes that have been broadcasting live services should continue for those who cannot attend.

“I also urge them to request that Holy Communion be brought to them outside of Mass. Just call your local parish and ask.” said Coyne.

Beth Wolven, finance manager for Grace Congregational Church in Rutland, said the church resumed live services on May 16.

Wolven said it was unclear whether attendance had returned to pre-pandemic standards, as attendance is traditionally slower in the summer.

However, she said there was hope that in September more people would attend regularly.

The first live church concert, “The Clash of Gold and Silver,” starring Bill Keck, Ron Wold and Alastair Stout, will take place on July 18 at 4 pm. The show is free.

Wolven said that once a month Grace has an outdoor service when the choir is singing.

“This will be our first live concert indoors. We’re very excited about this, ”Wolven said.

The Bishop’s Order is posted on the Internet at vermontcatholic.org/vermont/bishop-coyne-re-establishes-sunday-obligation/

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