With increasing discussion nationwide about the right time to “reopen” the country, Catholics in the Diocese of Allentown are understandably curious about when they might once again be able to attend Mass in person and receive the Holy Eucharist.
The Diocese is actively considering when and how that might occur.
The primary consideration in any decision will be the safety of the public. The decision will be based on health data, and not on polarized discussion.
Just as it did when cancelling Masses attended by the faithful, the Diocese will review governmental guidance and rely on the advice of health care professionals when making any changes to the current protocols.
It’s too early to determine for sure what a “reopening” schedule might look like for Masses, funerals and other rites. It may be that a phased approach is most appropriate at first. No timetable has been set.
Any decisions also will take into account the fact that some people are more at-risk from exposure to the Coronavirus, and that many people will want to make their own decisions about when they feel safe to attend public gatherings.
“Of course we are all eager for the day that we can have a full return to usual attendance at Mass, at funerals, and for all of the Holy Sacraments,” said Bishop Alfred Schlert.
“However, prudence requires a careful review of the facts to make a reasoned and deliberate decision of this magnitude,” the Bishop said.
“People have a deep spiritual need to return to Mass, and to the Holy Eucharist,” the Bishop said. “Our goal is to provide for the spiritual health of the faithful, while at the same time considering their physical health.”