HARRISBURG, Pa. – Today and effective immediately until further notice, Bishop Ronald W. Gainer, in union with the Bishops of Pennsylvania, has dispensed the faithful of the Diocese of Harrisburg from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
Despite the suspension of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, all regularly scheduled masses will remain open to the public for those who wish to attend.
Bishop Gainer made this move out of great concern for the health and well-being of the faithful, their families, our clergy and parish staff, given the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Those still wishing to attend Mass are welcome, but are asked to be careful in their contact with others. The Diocese advises those who are currently ill, the elderly and those with a compromised immune system to remain at home.
In addition to the dispensation, the Diocese has also requested that all parishes suspend the sign of peace; suspend the use of holy water fonts; suspend the distribution of the Precious Blood by way of the Chalice; take great care when separating the Holy Eucharist into separate vessels by pouring the hosts from one vessel to another; frequently wash hands, especially for our Priests, Deacons and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion; and regularly wash and disinfect doorknobs, pews and other places of high contact.
Additionally, at this time, the preferred method of reception of Holy Communion is “in the hand.” This is not a theological but rather a practical recommendation. However, no one is forbidden from receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.
Please click here for a listing of Diocesan event cancellations and postponements, as well as additional COVID-19 prevention measures and recommendations from the Diocese.