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June 18, 2021

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Q: “Do we have to go to Mass?” A: “We get to go to Mass!”
Over the years, usually when a Holy Day of obligation approaches, if someone asked me, “Father, do we have to go to Mass?” my first response is usually the same, “You get to go to Mass.” It is all how we look at it. There might be a new appreciation of this after 14 months of pandemic protocols. 

Last spring, the Minnesota bishops realized the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic and, for good reasons, they suspended the obligation of attending Mass as a safety precaution. As the pandemic is subsiding and normal activities are resuming, many Catholics have already safely returned to regular Sunday Mass attendance.

Sunday Obligation Dispensation
Effective July 1, 2021 the Minnesota bishops are removing the dispensation from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass. As indicated by the Bishop’s statement: “Attending the in-person celebration of Sunday Mass and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist are vital to our lives as Catholic Christians. We were created for Communion. Whether you are returning to your home parish, or seeking a local parish on vacation, your participation in the Mass unites you with the Church, the Body of Christ.”  

Their statement also recognizes that “Although the general dispensation will no longer be available, the Church has always recognized that certain circumstances can excuse a person from the requirement to observe the obligation.” The circumstances may include concern for others’ health, one’s own health, or in the situation when one is caring for another or when you cannot get to Mass through no fault of your own.

For more information about the reinstatement of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, please see www.archspm.org or view some of the several articles in The Catholic Spirit which can be found at www.thecatholicspirit.com. If you have questions about your particular situation, please feel free to contact me at the parish office. 

Just as any healthy relationship benefits from regular in-person expressions of love, the same is true in our relationship with God. When we understand Mass as being a part of something bigger than ourselves and as an act of communion with God and others, then we move toward an attitude of “we get to go to Mass.” It is at Mass that together we give thanks for our blessings, we pray for others, and we are reminded how celebration of the Eucharist has always been the “source and summit of the Christian life.”  

Virtual Mass
As a parish, we are grateful that our Masses are becoming full again, but some might ask, “What about the virtual Masses or the drive-up Communion on Wednesdays?” While virtual Masses will not fulfill the Sunday obligation except for the circumstances noted above, we will continue to offer the virtual Mass for the foreseeable future. We have found it as an effective way to stay connected to homebound parishioners and others.

Drive-Up Communion
Our last drive-up Communion will be offered on Wednesday, June 30. For those who would like to arrange for the reception of Communion outside of Mass, please contact Colin Miller, Assumption’s Director of Pastoral Care & Outreach, in the parish office. 

We are excited that our regular rhythm of coming together for Mass has returned. We appreciate that in some ways our prayers have been answered for the day when we could gather again. That day has come and we are glad to have everyone back to the great spiritual home which is Assumption.

God bless you and keep you safe.

Fr. Paul Treacy