Changes to Covid-19 liturgical protocols

Dispensation from Attending Sunday Mass Lifted (5-14-21)

Bishop Hurley has published the following letter to the faithful regarding the lifting of the dispensation. Click here for Printable PDF.

May 14, 2021

Dear Friends in Christ:

I am thankful that the time has come, for all who are able, to return to in-person celebrations of Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (including the Saturday/Vigil).

With this in mind, I am lifting the dispensation from that obligation, effective the weekend of May 29-30, 2021. All who are able are invited to return to in-person worship.

Our virtual celebrations have been a great blessing to us over these past months, and I want to thank all who have made them possible. Yet, we know that no digital experience could ever take the place of being physically present, and no virtual celebration fulfills our Sunday obligation. Our churches are safe places, and with the vaccines that are available and encouraged, we are in a different time in which the general dispensation is no longer necessary or advisable in light of our obligation to come together to “Keep Holy the Sabbath Day.”

There are, of course, serious reasons why some may not be able to return to in-person celebrations, and they would therefore be dispensed from attending in accord with our traditional teachings (i.e. illness, family situations, impossibility, etc.). For those who are unable to be physically present due to these rare circumstances, the virtual celebration of the Mass will still be available as it was prior to the onset of the pandemic, at the discretion of the local pastor.

I am grateful to our pastors, and all God’s people, for their flexibility, fidelity and generosity in support of the mission of the Church. As we begin to gather together with as few restrictions in our parish churches as possible, I warmly welcome back those who are returning at this time.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Bishop Hurley

+Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley

Apostolic Administrator

Updates to Diocesan COVID-19 Protocols for Liturgical Celebrations (5-14-21)

Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced updated COVID-19 guidelines parallel to that of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These changes go into effect tomorrow, Saturday, May 15, at 9 A.M.

Therefore, the following changes become effective as soon as parishes can implement them:

  • Masks are no longer required during liturgical celebrations. It is expected that those who are not vaccinated follow CDC guidance and wear a mask for the safety of fellow parishioners.
  • Social distancing is no longer required during liturgical celebrations. Rope/tape/signage can be removed from church’s pews. Church seating capacity has no limit, however, space in the church should be set aside to accommodate those who wish to continue social distancing, as parishes are able to do so.
  • Parishioners are not expected to share their vaccination status.
  • The dispensation from attending Mass will be lifted, effective the weekend of May 29-30, 2021, except for those with serious reasons for not attending.

The Diocese of Gaylord will continue to thoroughly review these updated [MDHHS and CDC] guidelines and will provide further details about the implications for our parishes early next week.  

This weekend, and in the immediate term, we can expect that there may be variations from parish to parish in the implementation of these guidelines; as parishes work to adjust according to their particular circumstances.