For the first time since churches were shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholics in Ohio were welcomed back to Mass on Sunday.
“As we move beyond the worst of the coronavirus pandemic and access to the COVID-19 vaccine has become more widespread, the time has arrived for the good of all the faithful when the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is no longer necessary,” a mid-May statement from the Catholic Conference of Ohio said.
There are exceptions for those who are at high risk of contracting or becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, and as usual, those who are generally ill.
The Catholic Conference also thanked priests and members of the church for their patience during the pandemic.
“We are profoundly grateful to our pastors and all of the faithful for their flexibility, fidelity and great generosity in support of the mission of the Church throughout this unprecedented time,” the statement said. “As we reflect on our Lord’s goodness and mercy in the midst of the sacrifices made during the coronavirus pandemic, we ask Saint Joseph to intercede for us, that through his fatherly protection and care, we may experience a renewal of faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.”
The statement was signed by eight Catholic Bishops from different parts of Ohio.
Many Catholic dioceses nationwide accepted the government’s forced closures, and turned to online Mass during the height of the pandemic.
A few, including the Brooklyn Roman Catholic Diocese, filed lawsuits against their local governments to fight back against capacity limits at Mass. The Archdiocese of Washington also sued the city of Washington, D.C., asking the city to allow it to ease restrictions during the Christmas season.
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