March 11, 2021
My beloved brothers and sisters,
As your spiritual father and bishop, through consultation and ongoing research on the status of COVID, it has become clear to me that it is the appropriate time to remove the revised dispensation that I previously granted to Catholics over the age of 65 and/or with underlying health conditions related to COVID from fulfilling their obligation to attend Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation. This revision to the general dispensation to all Catholics was previously announced on August 10, 2020. Therefore, effective March 27, 2021, the Church’s obligation of Catholics to attend Sunday Mass weekly and Holy Days of Obligation is being reinstated for all Catholics in the Diocese of Sioux Falls.
For Catholics who have serious reasons for not physically attending Mass, here is guidance the Church provides in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2181: “The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.”
Due to the essential spiritual need we have for weekly physical participation in Sunday Mass, the tremendous gift and spiritual nourishment of physically receiving our Lord in Holy Communion is critically important for our spiritual growth. I hope you will find the attached teaching on the Mass helpful for ongoing education and for deepening our appreciation for the benefits promised through our full participation in Holy Mass.
Know of my prayers for your spiritual wellbeing so we all can be healthy, happy and holy in our journey to heaven through God’s gift of Holy Mass.
In His Service,
Most Reverend Donald E. DeGrood
Bishop of Sioux Falls