Bishop Douglas Deshotel has announced that he will lift the current dispensation of the Sunday Mass Obligation for lay Catholics in the Diocese of Lafayette, beginning next month.
“Because of the seriousness of the pandemic, the Sunday obligation was dispensed by me to comply with safety directives recommended by health authorities. Now that conditions have improved, people more frequently shop, socialize, go to gyms and participate in other activities outside their homes, the time has come to also observe the Lord’s Day by assisting at Mass on Sundays. I am therefore lifting the dispensation from Sunday Obligation in the Diocese of Lafayette beginning on June 6, 2021, the Feast of Corpus Christi. All Catholics will be seriously obligated to assist at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Those who are sick, in nursing homes, immune-compromised, of advanced age or caring for a sick person at home are, as before, exempt from the obligation.”
Bishop Deshotel explains his decision in a pastoral letter that will be read in all Church parishes throughout the Diocese during the weekend of May 15-16. “After consulting with experts who have confirmed that with proper precautions we can gather together for Mass, I think that this is the proper time for us to come together to worship God.” Bishop Deshotel also expressed his thanks to “our many good priests who looked for ways to creatively continue to minister to us in a safe way during the pandemic.” When the pandemic began in early 2020 and houses of worship in Louisiana were ordered closed, Diocesan priests turned to live streaming of Masses, drive-through confessions and outdoor Masses as ways to stay in spiritual touch with their congregations.
Bishop Deshotel closes his pastoral letter by saying “I know that for many, the pandemic has been a time of spiritual renewal, a deeper appreciation for the Mass and a desire to receive the Eucharist. I ask you to join with me on June 6, the Feast of Corpus Christi, to worship God at Mass, hear His word in the Scriptures and be nourished with the Bread of Life, the Body and Blood of the Lord.”