Effective Father’s Day weekend, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has lifted the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and holy days of obligation across the state. Issued due to the pandemic, the dispensation has been in place for Maine Catholics since March 2020.

In addition to the Diocese of Portland, the Archdiocese of Boston, Diocese of Fall River and Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts, as well as the Diocese of Manchester in New Hampshire, will also be lifting the dispensation starting June 19-20.

“The obligation to attend Mass reflects the character of who we are as Catholics. There is no greater form of prayer as we praise God for his many blessings and strengthen one another in faith and hope,” said Bishop Robert Deeley. “At Mass, we have an encounter with Jesus which brings true meaning to our lives, and the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith, is the primary place in which we are community.”

As is always the case, the obligation does not apply to those who have serious reasons for not attending Mass, such as individuals who are seriously ill, caring for an ill person, homebound, suffering from a compromised health condition, or otherwise unable to attend Mass in person. Livestreamed Masses will continue to be offered at Maine parishes.

Anyone with questions or concerns are advised to contact their parish. Pastors, who have the authority to dispense in individual cases, can be helpful in addressing individual fears and concerns.

The diocese has been guided by experts, local and national agencies, and science in making decisions throughout the pandemic.

“We have acted with caution and continue to do so,” said the bishop. “Our use of vaccinations has grown sufficiently to allow us to safely reopen and gratefully welcome people back as there is no substitution to experiencing Jesus in person.”

To view updated Mass times as well as church addresses throughout Maine, visit portlanddiocese.org/content/parish-mass-times.

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