RELIGION: Catholics obliged to attend weekly Mass from 2 January 2022.

November 30, 2021
25 November 2021

St Patrick’s Church in Strathleven Place, Dumbarton, where video equipment has been stolen. Above: Canon Gerry Conroy welcomes children taking part in the nativity play.

By Bill Heaney

Catholics will have to turn up in person in church if they want to fulfil their obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
In a “Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Scotland” issued this weekend 27/28 November, Scotland’s Catholic bishops have announced that with effect from Sunday 2 January 2022 the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holydays of obligation will be reinstated.
The requirement was dispensed at the beginning of the pandemic and although churches opened and communal worship resumed attendance was not obligatory.
In their letter which will be read at all Masses across Scotland this weekend (27/28 November) the bishops say: “We have often been asked about reinstating the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holydays of obligation. In our fluid situation, this is not an easy judgment to make.
“Thanks, however, to the effort and good sense of so many, our churches have proven to be safe places. “So, saving any serious worsening of the situation, we believe that Christmastide provides an opportune moment to restore the obligation.
“The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation will therefore be reinstated from Sunday 2nd January, the first of the new year.”
The bishops’ letter states that anyone who is ill, showing symptoms of COVID, having underlying health conditions or those with responsibilities for people in need of special care are not obliged to attend and anyone in those groups can continue to participate online.
The bishops go on to point out that; “online participation does not fulfil the obligation” noting that “Nothing can adequately replace actual presence. At the heart of our Christian life is the event of the Word becoming flesh and our incorporation through the Sacraments into his Body. It’s to experience this that we come to church.”
Simply watching the service online will no longer fulfil the obligation placed on Catholics to attend Mass on Sunday.
Sadly for parishioners of St Patrick’s, Dumbarton, the church was broken into this week and the video equipment for transmitting services was stolen.
The expensive equipment, which was initially installed by Canon Gerry Conroy, the parish priest, for the convenience of elderly, disabled and housebound parishioners – and parishioners on holiday or living abroad –  was kept in the choir loft of the church and had a clear view of the altar.
Work was taking place on the organ this week and a thief is believed to have sneaked in through a door which was accidentally left open and made off with the video equipment.
* Pat Connolly, who now  lives in Australia, said: “I have just read that someone has stolen the web camera from St Patrick’s Church in Dumbarton.  So sad to hear this as we live in Australia and often watch the Mass and enjoy seeing part of our home town live. If you know of anyone who would do this, please do not hesitate to report them.”

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