SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — More than a year has passed since the start of the pandemic, and now the Diocese of Springfield is welcoming Catholics back into church for Mass.
“Jesus says don’t be afraid, have faith in me. So come on back,” Bishop William Byrne said.
Bishop Byrne announced the lifting of the dispensation for the obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day Mass, starting Father’s Day weekend. This was so that western Massachusetts fell in line with the Boston Province. However, the obligation to go to mass will not be required for those who are ill or homebound.
“The obligation to attend mass keeps us spiritually healthy by having us fed with the eucharist, with having God’s life, and giving him worship and putting him right in the middle of our lives,” Bishop Byrne said.
Parishioners of Saint Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield gathered for Mass on Sunday morning. Mass was followed by a community gathering. Sharon Harris told 22News she’s happy to see her church community back together under one roof.
“It’s wonderful to be back at church. I mean to see people you haven’ see in so many months, almost a year…it’s been a struggle for everybody but it’s o good to see those come back,” Harris said.
Parishes are now allowed altar servers as well as congregational singing, choirs and hymnals. Vaccinated parishioners do not have to wear a mask or social distance.