Catholic Bishops of Ohio Suspend All Publicly Celebrated Masses/Liturgies (updated)
May 8 Update:
Catholic Bishops of Ohio Set Dates in May to Resume Publicly Celebrated Weekday Masses/Liturgies. Weekday Masses Offer “Soft Opening” For Return to Sunday Celebrations
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As the “Responsible Restart Ohio Plan” is implemented during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, allowing a gradual return to work and lifting of some of the restrictions regarding consumer, retail and services, returning to operation, we your bishops, together with you, are anxious for the safe return to the public celebration of Mass/Liturgy. While making every effort to respect the spirit of the governor’s instructions, we want to begin in some way to make the public celebration of Mass/Liturgy available. To that end, we inform you that the bishops of Ohio have agreed that each diocese will determine a soft opening date later in May granting permission for the public celebration of weekday Mass/Liturgy, where it can be achieved safely and where pastorally possible, with less than 50 percent occupancy of the Church building, respecting social distancing. This plan provides for the possibility of the gradual return to the public celebration of Mass/Liturgy and prepares us for the Solemnity of Pentecost on the weekend of 30/31 May, when Sunday Mass/Liturgy will be publicly celebrated.
During the next few weeks, we will be working with our pastors and diocesan pastoral staffs to prepare for a soft opening of public celebration of weekday Mass/Liturgy. To this end, we ask our pastors with their parish staffs to prepare to implement a rigorous effort to fulfill guidelines, which will be forthcoming from each Diocese/Eparchy, to include maintaining social distancing, recommendations to provide a safe environment, and instructions for the distribution of Holy Communion.
The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass/Liturgy remains in effect. As your bishops, we continue to be cautious and concerned for those who are most at risk, the elderly and those with serious health issues. We also remain deeply concerned for our priests, many of whom we find in this category. We strongly urge those who are most vulnerable and their caregivers to stay at home, and we implore those who are not feeling well, or who fear that their own health or that of their family may be compromised, to refrain from coming to church at this time. We thank you for your patience, understanding, and cooperation as we implement this gradual return to the public celebration of Mass/Liturgy.
Together, we continue to pray for all who are suffering from Covid-19, for all health care workers and first responders, for all the deceased and their families, and for an easing of the anxiety and tension caused by this pandemic. Relying on the Motherly care of Our Lady, Health of the Sick, we unite our sufferings to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and we trust in the glorious hope of His Resurrection.
April 28 Update:
The Catholic Bishops of Ohio extend the temporary suspension of all publicly celebrated Masses/liturgies ending on May 29th, with the hope of publicly celebrating together the Solemnity of Pentecost on the weekend of May 30/31. Each of the bishops of Ohio, once again, dispense the Catholic faithful who reside in their respective dioceses and all other Catholics currently in their territories from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass during this time. We ask for the cooperation and adherence of all the faithful to the governor’s directives during this period.
Read the full news release
April 2 Update:
On April 2, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine extended the executive “Stay at Home Order” to continue to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in the State of Ohio. Out of deep concern for the common good, as well as the physical and spiritual well-being of all the people of Ohio, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio have agreed once again to cooperate with the governor’s direction.
To that end, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio extend the temporary suspension of all publicly celebrated Masses/liturgies at least through and including Sunday May 3rd. The Bishops of Ohio dispense the Catholic faithful who reside in their respective dioceses and all other Catholics currently in Ohio from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass during this time period.
This decision has not been taken lightly and, as your bishops, together with you, we recognize the sacrifice we are called to make by being physically distanced from the Holy Eucharist and from one another.
Trusting in the graces flowing from the celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord, we remain mindful of the hope that does not disappoint. As your bishops, we continue to encourage you to keep holy the Lord’s Day by participating in Sunday Mass by way of televised, live-streamed, or radio broadcast options and making a spiritual communion. Keeping in mind the gift of plenary indulgences offered to us by the Church, we encourage all the faithful to turn to the Church’s treasury of prayer, praying as a family or individually the rosary, divine mercy chaplet, the Liturgy of the Hours and Stations of the Cross, etc.
Please join us in praying for all who are suffering from the Coronavirus, for all health care workers and first responders, and for an easing of the anxiety and tension caused by this pandemic. Relying on the Motherly care of Our Lady, Health of the Sick, we unite our sufferings to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and we trust in the glorious hope of His resurrection.
CATHOLIC CONFERENCE OF OHIO
March 16, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
After serious consideration of the grave health risk involved in public gatherings and in order to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, the bishops of Ohio have decided, effective immediately, to suspend temporarily all publicly celebrated Masses/liturgies, at least through the celebrations of Holy Week and Easter. The bishops of Ohio dispense the Catholic faithful who reside in their respective dioceses and all other Catholics currently in Ohio from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass through Easter Sunday.
This decision is not taken lightly and, as your bishops, causes us great sadness. However, after consultation with the governor and health officials we are convinced that this is the most prudent and necessary action.
Science has proven that participation in public gatherings significantly increases the risk of contagion. This poses a serious danger to those especially most vulnerable.
As Catholics, in every Sunday Mass we celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord. The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. In this moment, we are experiencing in a unique way the passion of our Lord as this pandemic prevents us from gathering for the Sunday Eucharist. In this very difficult time, we encourage the faithful to turn to the Church’s treasury of prayer. Sunday remains a holy day, and we encourage the faithful to pray using the rich resources of our faith, including praying as a family or individually the rosary, divine mercy chaplet, the Liturgy of the Hours, stations of the cross, etc. We also urge you to participate in prayer by way of radio broadcast or televised or live-streamed Mass and make a spiritual communion.
Please join us in praying for all who are suffering from illness or disease of any kind, for all health care workers, and for an easing of the anxiety and tension caused by this situation. Relying on the Motherly care of Our Lady, we unite our sufferings to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our healing and our hope.
Catholic Conference of Ohio
Archbishop of Cincinnati
Most Rev. Joseph R. Binzer
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan
Bishop of Columbus
Most Rev. Jeffrey M. Monforton
Bishop of Steubenville
Bishop of Youngstown
Rev. Donald P. Oleksiak
Diocesan Administrator of Cleveland
Most Rev. Daniel E. Thomas
Bishop of Toledo