The Catholic diocese in Arlington, Virginia, has lifted COVID-19 restrictions for masses and other activities.
Bishop Michael Francis Burbidge said in a video message released Tuesday, “We can once again celebrate as a community, without the need for social distancing or capacity limits.”
People who are not vaccinated are “encouraged to wear a mask for the time being,” the bishop said.
Also, people who have “a grave concern or a serious medical condition” are still not obligated to come to mass — “the dispensation is still in place,” Burbidge said. An announcement lifting the dispensation will come soon, although he added that those who are “sick or homebound even outside of a pandemic are relieved of the obligation.”
“For everyone else, I implore you: Please join us again at the table of our Lord.”
He praised the resourcefulness and courage of priests during the pandemic, as well as the generosity of donors who were able to help the diocese continue to provide aid for people who needed it. But he said that while livestreamed masses serve a purpose, “nothing can replace receiving our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.”
Burbidge added, “If you’re not here celebrating with your brothers and sisters in Christ, something is missing.”
“I have been waiting more than a year to give you [this] good news,” Burbidge said. “Now is the time.”
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