Dispensation from Sunday Mass Obligation

March 16, 2020

The following is a statement from Bishop Peter Christensen:
In ordinary circumstances, Catholics are obliged to participate in Mass on Sundays and other Holy Days of Obligation.   This obligation can be suspended in cases of moral or physical impossibility, and may also be dispensed for a just cause when it is for the spiritual good of the faithful to do so. 

In addition, the Church has the obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable and those who care for the sick.  Due to the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19/coronavirus cases in our Diocese and the State of Idaho, I have determined it prudent to dispense all Catholics over the age of 70, as well as those having conditions which make themselves vulnerable to contracting the virus, to forgo attending Mass on Sundays if they deem it prudent for themselves and others until the threat of the virus has run its course.  Any persons having cold symptoms, or any other illness, or debilitating effects from disease are encouraged to stay home during this time as well.  Meanwhile, I have asked that Masses continue as regularly scheduled, unless otherwise directed by me at a later date.

As you know, the Mass allows us to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist, strengthening each of us as individuals as well as our respective communities and, therefore, a decision of this sort is not a decision I make lightly.  Even for those of you who may choose to stay home on Sundays, you are reminded that Sundays are holy, and, as Catholics, we should still observe the Lord’s Day as a day of reflection and prayer.  We will also work hard to live-stream the Mass when and where possible. 

A daily rosary is encouraged to be prayed by all our faithful during these days of Lent. Our prayers are offered for those many people who struggle with the virus locally and around the world.  Let us also remember all our health professionals and ministers who offer their care for the needs of those who suffer in any way.  We pray for our own protection, and for those who fear death without knowing the Lord’s loving care – that their hope in eternal life might be strengthened.  May each of us remain calm and look to the needs of our brothers and sisters, especially those who are alone with no one to care for them.  When we unite for the common good, we can overcome fear and courageously face the challenges that may lie in the days ahead.  Please keep your attention on the Diocesan Website for further announcements.  

In gratitude and with Blessings in Christ Our Lord, I remain yours as I close with a verse that comes from the Old Testament Book of Daniel.  May we also hear the words of God the prophet speaks His people:


“Fear not beloved, you are safe; take courage and be strong.” -- Daniel 10:19





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