From the Archdiocese of Indianapolis
Roman Catholic Province of Indianapolis
Lifting of the Dispensation from the Obligation of Mass
Effective 11 June 2021
The celebration of the Eucharist at Mass is the source and summit of our life and mission as Catholics.
As of March 2020, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, all Roman Catholics throughout the entire Province of Indianapolis, which comprises all five dioceses of Indiana, have been dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. However, with the decrease of cases in our state, the widespread availability of vaccines and following the guidance of public health officials, we are now able to safely accommodate more parishioners for Masses. Therefore, effective June 11, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass is hereby lifted throughout the state of Indiana.
Except for the unique situations as described below, those who are otherwise healthy are obliged to return to Sunday Mass by the weekend of June 12-13, 2021:
• Those who are seriously ill, exhibit flu-like symptoms and/or may have a contagious disease (including quarantine due to exposure).
• Those who are unable to attend Mass through no fault of their own (e.g. transportation issue).
• Those who are homebound and/or incapacitated due to age, infirmity and/or medical restrictions.
• Those who have compromised health conditions and/or at high risk of contracting the virus.
• Those who are caretakers of person who are sick or of persons at high-risk of serious illness if they contract Covid virus.
If you have any questions about any specific needs, concerns or protocols, you are advised to contact your parish directly. Your pastor, who has the authority to dispense in individual cases, may be helpful in addressing individual fears and concerns.
The obligation to attend Mass is a joyful one, reflecting the very character of who we are as Catholics.
From Fr. Nick: Lifting Dispensation—St. Matthew Protocols
Hopefully many of you saw in our bulletin, in our online media, or in the Criterion that the Bishops of Indiana are lifting the dispensation from the obligation to celebrate Mass. This is effective Friday, June 11, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. There are unique situations where some individuals will not be obliged to celebrate the Eucharist on Sunday. Those situations are spelled out in the article from the Archdiocese that is once again published in this bulletin. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with these guidelines. What does this entail for wearing masks, social distancing, and other health and safety protocols on the parish level? Basically, these are the protocols now at St. Matthew:
While wearing face coverings (masks) at any worship or liturgical service will no longer be mandated for parishes by the Archdiocese, the Archdiocese is encouraging the wearing of masks or face coverings as an act of charity to protect those who are vulnerable and to care for the common good. Many are still not vaccinated, and some folks are still high risk. Therefore, we at St. Matthew, while no longer requiring masks, strongly encourage the continued use of masks and face coverings, especially when proper social distancing cannot be maintained.
As for social distancing, the Archdiocese encourages each parish to make arrangements for different sections of various levels of precautions in the worship space. At St. Matthew, we will be doing away with roping off pews in the two middle sections of the church and the side section on the choir side of the church. We ask you use your good judgment for social distancing in these sections, realizing the CDC guideline to sit no closer than 3 feet away from those who are not part of your family or group. If you not wearing a mask, you should sit six feet away from others. For those who do not feel comfortable with this arrangement, the section of pews by the Baptismal Font will continue to have every other pew roped off.
For the time being, the collection will still be taken up using a basket at the doors of the Church in the narthex in which you can deposit your contribution.
For the foreseeable future, weekday Mass will remain in the main church for social distancing.
The frequent use of hand sanitizer is still highly encouraged, and we will continue to provide hand sanitizer at the doors as you enter the church from the narthex.
The Sign of Peace will continue to be done by a sign or gesture, not by touching, unless you are members of the same family or group.
Eucharistic Ministers and the Priest will continue to wear masks when distributing Communion for the health and safety of all. Also, for the foreseeable future, the distribution of the Eucharist only under the species of bread is to be maintained, as requested by the Archdiocese.