Spokane Diocese releases Catholics from mass obligation during coronavirus outbreak

Spokane's Catholic Bishop has released Catholics from the obligation of attending mass on Sunday during the coronavirus outnreal
Copyright KXLY 2020

SPOKANE, Wash – Citing positive cases of the coronavirus in eastern Washington, Spokane’s Catholic bishop Sunday released the more than 90,000 Catholics in the diocese from their obligation to attend mass.

Bishop Thomas Daly shared the news, saying the dispensation from obligation extends through the last weekend of March. It applies to parishoners of all ages.

“Those members of the faithful who do not attend Sunday Mass should devote some time to prayer on the Lord’s Day, either alone or as a family,” Bishop Daly wrote.

Other Catholic churches across the country have made the same decision, along with changes like draining holy water fonts, stopping the passing of the wine and asking parishoners not to shake hands during the Sign of Peace.

This specifically impacts older people, who may be more likely to attend church during the outbreak because of the obligation. Those older populations are also at higher risk of complications from the coronavirus.

Other churches throughout the region have made changes to services in the wake of the pandemic. LifeCenter, one of Spokane’s largest congregations, closed the building and is streaming services online.