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Time to Go Back to Mass: All PA Bishops Reinstate Obligation to Attend in-Person

The reinstatement does not apply to anyone who is seriously ill, has a serious health risk or has serious anxiety about worshipping in a large group.

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Catholics throughout Pennsylvania will once again be obligated to attend in-person Mass on Sundays and Holy Days beginning on Aug. 15.

Bishops lifted the obligation in March 2020 due to the pandemic, and they are now reinstating it because the impact of the pandemic has been "considerably reduced," Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, who represents the Philadelphia Archdiocese, wrote in a news release Thursday.

Philadelphia already resumed in-person Mass in early June with precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19, though parishioners were not obligated to return.

COVID-19 cases have fallen dramatically in the state as more Pennsylvanians received their COVID-19 vaccine.

The reinstatement does not apply to anyone who is seriously ill, has a serious health risk or has serious anxiety about worshipping in a large group. Those who care for others who cannot attend Mass in person are also exempt, Archbishop Pérez's statement read.

There still will be a broadcast version of the Mass for people who cannot attend in person.

New Jersey bishops lifted their orders that allowed Catholics to skip in-person services in early June. Exemptions apply for those who are ill or have underlying health conditions.

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The Diocese of Wilmington reinstated the obligation June 26.

"As Bishops, we welcome this moment of the reinstatement of the obligation for all Catholics in Pennsylvania," the news release reads. "This is a moment to thank God anew for the great gift of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus to us in his Holy Body and Blood as well as the joy of gathering together as people of faith.”

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