Parishes Will Remove Seating Capacity Restrictions at Mass Starting May 22

Parishes in the Diocese of Allentown will continue the gradual transition back to normal operations when they lift church seating capacity restrictions on the Solemnity of Pentecost, the weekend of May 22 and 23.

Other common sense precautions will remain in place at Mass, including the requirement that the faithful wear masks, that priests and others distributing Holy Communion wear masks and cleanse their hands as needed, and that no Sign of Peace be exchanged during Mass.

“I ask that you begin encouraging the People of God to return to Mass in a gradual manner,” Bishop Schlert said to priests, deacons and seminarians of the Diocese, “especially if they are of sound health, are vaccinated, and have resumed other activities in public.”

The Bishop said that during this celebration of the Year of the Real Presence, it is his hope that the lifting of capacity restrictions, along with the Solemnity of Pentecost, “will engender a great hopefulness in our local Church.”

The Sunday Mass Obligation remains suspended, and a future decision on lifting the dispensation is likely to be made jointly by the Bishops of Pennsylvania.

Pentecost is a feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. It takes its name from the fact that it comes fifty days after Easter.

The Year of the Real Presence in our Diocese is a time for the faithful to rededicate themselves to, and to reaffirm their belief in, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. This year also is a time for people to rejoice in the gift of their own presence at Mass with families, friends, and clergy – to once again be really present for Mass.


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