FROM FATHER ERDMAN
ON THE OBLIGATION TO ATTEND MASS
4 October 2020
Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus,
The events of 2020 have been challenging for all of us. This year has required our fortitude and our patience, our prudence and our courage. It has required our charity for each other as the people of God, and for the world around us. The time has been uniquely challenging in that for many of us we have been absent from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.Bishop Lopes for a time had granted a commutation of the obligation to attend the Sunday Mass.
As of October 1, the commutation has been changed. For all those who are in good health, and have no conditions that would make them vulnerable to the coronavirus, the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday has returned.
Attendance at Mass is a central part of our Christian faith. Our Eucharistic Lord, Jesus Christ, is the center of our life and practice. Indeed, the Second Vatican Council says that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian life. It is that from which we draw our strength and that to which we aspire. In this time forward, we give our witness in our example to the essential nature of the sacrament by our commitment to attend the Sunday Mass once more.
Catholic canon law already has within it provisions for those who are in danger for reasons of their physical health, and reason of illness. This includes any risk to those in your household or in your care. Remember, this is always in effect. And remember that for those who cannot still join us, we livestream all of our Masses, so that you may join us in prayer and in God's praise. Know that the grace and power of the sacrament is strong enough to bridge any distance and the communion we share in Christ, the communion which we share of his body and blood is what binds us together from the last time we receive until next time we are able to be at the Altar of the Lord. The grace of God is sufficient for us and provides for us what we need.
Please remember that if you fall into the category of those who are at a higher risk (according to the CDC, those who are 60+ years of age, those with underlying medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes, COPD, kidney disease, being immuno-compromised, etc) the following practices are ways in which you meet your Sunday obligation:
Prayerful reflection upon the Sunday Scripture readings, concluding that time by the recitation of the Prayer of Humble Access or the Anima Christi;
the recitation of the Rosary as a family.
Please note that praying with the livestreamed Mass meets the first option. If you are unable to attend Mass due to medical condition, please keep us in your prayer, and please be mindful of the community that continues to pray for you.
For those who do not fall into this category, I look forward to seeing you at Mass this coming Sunday at 3pm.. Please use all due caution and all prudence and charity in preparing yourself to attend the Mass. I ask that all of our precautions previously stated for maintaining the health of our parishioners be maintained and plead for us to be diligent in their practice. It is a small thing to practice such diligence in order to be able to receive such a gift from God, without compare and without measure. Please be mindful of not being careless with what we asked for the safety of our people, that we may give a witness to the world of prudence, courage, and fortitude.
If you have any questions about anything contained in this letter please feel free to give contact me. May God's angels always watch over you. May his saints pray for you. May your guardian angels guide your steps and lead your feet to pray to the glory of heaven, and may God's blessing always be upon you.
Faithfully in Christ Jesus,