Bishop Ricken issues dispensation from obligation to attend Sunday Mass

ALLOUEZ – Catholics in the Diocese of Green Bay have been granted a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for the next three weekends due to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In a March 13 press release, the diocese announced that while Sunday Mass will continue to be celebrated in parishes throughout the diocese, a dispensation will include Masses for Sundays March 15, 22, and 29. “Masses will still be celebrated across the 16 counties of the diocese, but the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will be lifted for these three Sundays, leaving attendance to people’s best judgment,” according to the statement.

This is an illustration prepared by the Diocese of Dallas on how to wash one’s hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (CNS illustration/courtesy Diocese of Dallas) Parishes can download a PDF of this guide at this link.

“During this time of heightened precautions we want to keep people safe, healthy and free from fear,” said Bishop David Ricken. “These are measures to prevent an increase in the spread of the virus and serve as a precaution over the next three weekends. Following these three Sundays, we will reassess the situation.”

Sunday Mass is available diocesan-wide via broadcast television on WBAY at 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning, on Relevant Radio, 1050 AM at 9 a.m., and through livestream from St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay at the following link:

“Catholics who choose not to attend Mass because of this dispensation are urged to remain home and pray fervently for healing, hope, and peace for all those affected by this illness,” the statement added.

Events cancelled

Numerous events taking place around the Diocese of Green Bay have already been cancelled or postponed. These include:

  • In Mary’s Footsteps Women’s Conference, scheduled for March 14 at Good Shepherd Church in Chilton.
  • Rural Life Days gatherings, scheduled for March 21 at St. Louis Church in Dyckesville and March 28 at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Waupaca. Both events will be held at a later date, according to Peter Weiss, Living Justice Advocate for Catholic Charities and coordinator of the Rural Life Days.
  • Holy Trinity Parish in Casco has cancelled its the Lenten Mission, which was scheduled for March 22-25.
  • A Mass celebrating the profession of vows for the Missionaries of the Word sisters, slated for March 25 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, has been postponed, according to Mother Mary Catherine of the Divine Word.
  • “Divine Evidence” presentations, at Xavier High School’s Fine Arts Theatre in Appleton April 6 and 7, have been cancelled, according to Ann Del Ponte, CIA-Faith Mission Operatives spokesperson.
  • “Called & Gifted” workshops, April 4 and May 2, sponsored by the diocesan Parish Life & Evangelization Mission Team, has been postponed. No date has yet been determined.
  • Ananias Training, April 17 and 18, also sponsored by the Parish Life & Evangelization Mission Team, has been postponed, with no new date set.

The Diocese of Green Bay has created a “COVID-19 Response” web page for updates. It includes a link to diocesan sponsored event cancellations.

Editor’s note: This story will be updated as new information is received.