DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Catholic faithful are being urged to come back to attend church services in person starting March 13.
Monsignor Gary Smetanka tells 7 Action News this was delayed for a month to get everything ready saying, “the present dispensation was going to be lifted Monday, February 15. So, the Archbishop is extending that a Month to March 13th.”
The lifting of the dispensation means the obligation to attend Mass and Holy Day services is, in effect, back on but that obligation is being tempered with the pandemic.
Monsignor Smetanka explains it, “Not ordering them back, just kind of saying welcome back home. Feel free to come. This essential to our faith in coming together as a community.”
Catholic services have been back open since May. Capacity will be limited to 50%, there will be social distancing, masks, and cleaning protocols in place.
The community cup during communion has been eliminated. The Archdiocese consulted with medical experts to make this move.
The Monsignor says there’s this continuing dispensation, “They’re invited but if they’re still fearful if they still have health conditions, stay home and don’t worry about the obligation.”
COVID-19 is real in the Church. In August, 13 nuns died inside a convent in Livonia. Just days ago, 9 nuns dies inside the Dominican Sisters retirement home in Adrian.
Monsignor Smetanka says, “They said they kept it out since January and somehow it came in, and unfortunately 8 or 9 Dominican Sisters died.”
The Monsignor says they’ve had no major outbreaks inside the church. They’ve continued weddings and funerals with restrictions. Bars and restaurants reopened last week with reduced capacity.
“More people are getting vaccinated. More people are out and about doing other non-essential activities,” Monsignor Smetanka said.
The date is March 13. Easter is April 4.