Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Venice in Florida, has announced that he will be granting dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice due to coronavirus concerns.
The Bishop has been closely monitoring developments regarding the virus and a number of precautions have been implemented in parishes across the 10-county Diocese.
The letter stated the following:
“Out of pastoral concern, a dispensation has been issued from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for those affected by the coronavirus. Now that a national emergency has been declared and the State of Florida has provided further guidance, many of the Catholic Faithful may deem it prudent to avoid large gatherings. Therefore, out of an abundance of spiritual concern, I now extend the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass to all the Catholic Faithful until further notice.”
In addition, the Bishop stated that the celebration of Holy Eucharist would continue with necessary precautions.
“All the Catholic Faithful are asked to observe the Lord’s Day with reverence and in spiritual communion with one another, whether you attend Mass or not during this time,” he said.
In an addendum to the letter, Bishop Dewane took the following additional precautions, which are effective immediately throughout the Diocese of Venice:
- Classes will be suspended in all Catholic Schools within the Diocese of Venice until March 30, 2020.
- All Parish Religious Education and Youth activities will be suspended until March 30, 2020.
- Parish events should be postponed or canceled through March 30, 2020.
- Parish and Diocesan offices will remain open during this time.
For more information and updates, visit the Diocesan website.
For those unable to attend mass and seeking a spiritual connection to the Catholic Church during this difficult time, the Diocese of Venice in Florida produces a televised Catholic Mass available to view. Those channels and times are listed below:
- CW at 9:30 a.m. Sundays in the Northern Deanery (Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto, Charlotte, Hardee, Highlands counties)
- Fox 4 at 10:30 a.m. Sundays in the Southern Deanery (Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Glades, Hendry counties)
The mass is also available to view online. Click here for that website.