Archbishop Lucas announces dispensation from Sunday obligation
Archbishop George J. Lucas sent the following message to archdiocesan priests at 5:00 p.m. on March 13, 2020:
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is calling for communities to limit the size of public gatherings to fewer than 250 people. This limitation would affect some Sunday and weekday Masses, weddings, special events, etc.
After hearing from Governor Pete Ricketts, I granted a dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for Catholics in the Archdiocese of Omaha and the Diocese of Lincoln. Those who choose to act on the dispensation are encouraged to attend a weekday Mass when crowds are smaller, but they are not obliged to do so.
There are a couple of options available to large parishes to be able to comply on short notice depending on your circumstances. One is to conduct simultaneous Masses at two locations. Of course, this is possible only if you have more than one priest. Another option may be to set up a video screen in the basement or gym so that people can view the Mass from the church and have Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion bring them Communion.
The weekend is upon us. We all have to do our best to comply with the guidance of the Governor. We understand that there is no penalty anticipated as we do our best to meet this challenge. There is also the challenge of communicating our response to the Governor’s request to your parishioners. We will announce the dispensation through the local media, social media, etc.
This is an opportune time to remind your parishioners that Mass for Shut-Ins is aired every Sunday on WOWT at 10:30 a.m. and is available https://archomaha.org/mass-for-shut-ins/. Mass is also aired on EWTN (https://www.ewtn.com/tv/schedule and https://www.ewtn.com/tv/watch-live).
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Let us continue to pray for protection and guidance during this challenging time for us and our people.
With best wishes and prayers, I am,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop George J. Lucas