Suspension of Public Masses
Based on the current circumstances and with a profound desire to protect the health and well-being of all, Bishop Boyea has discerned that the current suspension of all public Masses and the liturgical directives that he established on March 17, 2020 should remain in place through April 30, 2020.
While the Sacraments of Baptism, Penance, Holy Matrimony, and Funeral liturgies will continue as previously directed, the conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation will not take place until the suspension is lifted. Possible rescheduling scenarios are being considered.
These determinations were made based upon the most recent directives and guidelines from government officials and health care experts to extend the time period for social distancing in a continued effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The decision to prolong the suspension of public Masses was not made lightly, but out of a fervent desire to protect the health and well-being of clergy, religious, and laity, but especially the most vulnerable.
In this time of suffering and uncertainty, Bishop Boyea has called “all Catholics and, indeed, all people within the Diocese of Lansing” to prayer, fasting, and works of mercy, imploring the Lord to bring an end to this pandemic. As we unite under the “divine mandate to fast and pray when threatened by the powers of darkness (cf. Mt 17:21),” let us entrust ourselves to the Lord, who is rich in mercy.
Many have inquired regarding how this will impact the “Easter duty” of Catholics to “receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season” and the obligation to “confess your sins at least once a year” (CCC 2042). While the basic requirement of the Church is for all Catholics to “confess…grave sins at least once a year” (CIC 989), it is not essential that this take place during Lent. And, while the “Easter duty” of receiving the Holy Eucharist should be done during the Easter season, the Code of Canon Law specifies that “for a just cause” this obligation can be fulfilled “at another time during the year” (CIC 920, §2). Protecting the health and well-being of the most vulnerable in a time of global pandemic is certainly such a just cause.
For up-to-date information about the Diocese of Lansing’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.dioceseoflansing.org/coronavirus.