A number of things have been happening in the diocese lately, especially with regards to returning to a sense of normalcy in parish life. This new announcement has to do with the dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation.
Ever since the first major lockdown in mid March of 2020, the diocese granted to all the faithful a general dispensation from the usual Sunday Mass obligation. In other words, because of the
pandemic and lockdown, Catholics were not obligated to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. The most recent announcement from the diocese brings this dispensation to an end and effectively requires all Catholics, except those seriously impeded by health or mobility issues, to be present at Mass for the weekends. The dispensation will end soon and all people will be required to return to Mass on the weekend of Corpus Christi, which is June 5th and 6th.
Another important item to make everyone aware of is the opportunity to gain a plenary indulgence on June 5th and 6th for the feast day of Corpus Christi. People have the chance to gain an indulgence by visiting a parish church on the day of its titular feast, and since Corpus Christi is the titular feast day of Blessed Sacrament, everyone who comes to Mass has a chance to earn this indulgence. A plenary indulgence is the total remission of temporal punishment associated with sin, or rather, a complete wiping away of the lasting effects that remain because of sin. When we commit sin, there are always unseen effects that remain, even though we go to confession and receive absolution. This is why the priest assigns us a penance during the sacrament of reconciliation; this penance is supposed to help us atone for the effects of sin that remain.
There are 3 main conditions that need to be fulfilled for this indulgence, and then the performance of the indulgenced act itself. First, you must receive Holy Communion on the feast day (either Saturday or Sunday). Second, you must pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, such as 1 Our Father and 1 Hail Mary. It is not necessary to know his specific intentions; it is enough to simply pray, “For the intentions of the Holy Father.” Third, you have to go to confession, either within 20 days before Corpus Christi or within 20 days after Corpus Christi. A final important element while doing these things is a strong detachment to sin or the spirit that leads us into sin. After fulfilling these 3 conditions, all you have to do to gain the indulgence is to say two extra prayers when you come to church. By saying one Our Father and by reciting the Creed (either Nicene or Apostles) you are able to gain the plenary indulgence. When you gain an indulgence, you have the option to gain it for yourself, or to apply it to the dead (either a specific deceased
person, or for the dead in general). A person cannot, however, apply an indulgence to another living person.
Therefore, if you are coming to Mass on the feast of Corpus Christi, think about staying after Mass for a few minutes to offer these prayers (1 Our Father and the Creed), so that you can take advantage of the opportunity to grow in holiness.
~ Fr. Martin Gallagher