Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, all Roman Catholics throughout the entire Province of Indianapolis, which comprises all five dioceses of Indiana, have been dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.
With the decreased number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state and the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, the diocese says the dispensation from the Mass obligation is being lifted as of June 11.
"Since March of last year, the Catholics in the province of Indiana, which is the five dioceses in the State of Indiana, have been dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass," explained Bishop Joseph M. Siegel with the Evansville Catholic Diocese. "This was done, of course, because of the COVID-19 pandemic."
"Now with the great lessening of cases in the state, with the availability of the vaccine, and the stability to accommodate more people in our churches, the bishops of Indiana have decided to lift the dispensation as of June 11," Bishop Siegel said. "So that weekend of the 12th and 13th, Catholics will once again be obliged to attend Mass."
The diocese says that unless affected by any of the exceptions listed below, those who are otherwise healthy and able are obliged to return to Sunday Mass by the weekend of June 12 - June 13:
- Those who are seriously ill, exhibit flu-like symptoms and/or may have a contagious disease (including quarantine due to exposure).
- Those who are unable to attend Mass through no fault of their own (e.g. transportation issue).
- Those who are homebound and/or incapacitated due to age, infirmity and/or medical restrictions.
- Those who have compromised health conditions and/or at high risk of contracting the virus.
- Those who are caretakers of person who are sick or of persons at high-risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19 virus.
The decision to lift the Mass obligation was made during a May 18 meeting of the Indiana Bishops.
In addition to the resumption of the Mass obligation, the Diocese of Evansville has updated its COVID-19 guidelines. You can view a full list of the new COVID-19 guidelines by clicking here.