June 2, 2021
Dear Friends in Christ,
In a joint statement, the Province of Baltimore and the Archdiocese of Washington announced we are lifting the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass in person during the COVID-19 health crisis, a major milestone in our journey back to normalcy. In light of this important transition, the Archdiocese is also removing all COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, where jurisdictions allow. The lifting of general dispensation and removing restrictions will both go into effect on June 26 and 27. These are certainly joyous days ahead.
I would like to take the opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to you, the faithful, for your ongoing perseverance in the face of the many unique challenges that this pandemic has posed in our lives. The enduring patience and flexibility of the faithful as we navigate these unprecedented times has been invaluable in aiding our efforts to keep each other safe.
It is with great hope that we look forward to an end to the pandemic and to the complete reopening of our parish communities for in-person worship. This is indeed a moment worthy of celebration and thanksgiving.
We continue to be mindful of those who have been directly affected by the virus, those that are currently suffering its effects, and those that have lost loved ones. May we keep them always close in thought and prayer.
In light of the continued decline in cases and in hospitalizations, as we progress beyond the long-present threat of COVID-19, I invite and encourage you to begin attending Mass in person again, confident that at this time, a return to our parish communities is safe for a vast majority of us.
As we enter into the celebration of the Year of the Eucharist, let us take this opportunity to not only resume in-person attendance but also reaffirm the importance of the Eucharist in our lives. It has been a constant consolation to know that our parishes have worked tirelessly to make the celebration of the Mass accessible by various virtual means; and while most will continue to do so, I nonetheless encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to pursue a deeper encounter with our Lord through full and active in-person participation in the Mass.
Please take a moment to watch my video message where I talk more about the Year of the Eucharist.
As our community of faith reaches this long awaited milestone, allow me to repeat my concluding words in A Light Brightly Visible 2.0, “Let it be our united hope and prayer that, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will ‘fan into flame’ (2 Tim 1:6) our Eucharistic faith, such that it will shine brightly in every pastorate, in every neighborhood, and in every corner of this, the Premier See.”
With kindest personal regards, I remain
Faithfully in Christ,
Most Reverend William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore