Diocese of Gaylord's Response to COVID-19

Dispensation from Attending Sunday Mass Lifted (5-14-21)

Bishop Hurley has published the following letter to the faithful regarding the lifting of the dispensation. Click here for Printable PDF.

May 14, 2021

Dear Friends in Christ:

I am thankful that the time has come, for all who are able, to return to in-person celebrations of Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (including the Saturday/Vigil).

With this in mind, I am lifting the dispensation from that obligation, effective the weekend of May 29-30, 2021. All who are able are invited to return to in-person worship.

Our virtual celebrations have been a great blessing to us over these past months, and I want to thank all who have made them possible. Yet, we know that no digital experience could ever take the place of being physically present, and no virtual celebration fulfills our Sunday obligation. Our churches are safe places, and with the vaccines that are available and encouraged, we are in a different time in which the general dispensation is no longer necessary or advisable in light of our obligation to come together to “Keep Holy the Sabbath Day.”

There are, of course, serious reasons why some may not be able to return to in-person celebrations, and they would therefore be dispensed from attending in accord with our traditional teachings (i.e. illness, family situations, impossibility, etc.). For those who are unable to be physically present due to these rare circumstances, the virtual celebration of the Mass will still be available as it was prior to the onset of the pandemic, at the discretion of the local pastor.

I am grateful to our pastors, and all God’s people, for their flexibility, fidelity and generosity in support of the mission of the Church. As we begin to gather together with as few restrictions in our parish churches as possible, I warmly welcome back those who are returning at this time.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Bishop Hurley

+Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley

Apostolic Administrator

 


Updates to Diocesan COVID-19 Protocols for Liturgical Celebrations (5-14-21)

Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced updated COVID-19 guidelines parallel to that of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These changes go into effect tomorrow, Saturday, May 15, at 9 A.M.

Therefore, the following changes become effective as soon as parishes can implement them:

  • Masks are no longer required during liturgical celebrations. It is expected that those who are not vaccinated follow CDC guidance and wear a mask for the safety of fellow parishioners.
  • Social distancing is no longer required during liturgical celebrations. Rope/tape/signage can be removed from church’s pews. Church seating capacity has no limit, however, space in the church should be set aside to accommodate those who wish to continue social distancing, as parishes are able to do so.
  • Parishioners are not expected to share their vaccination status.
  • The dispensation from attending Mass will be lifted, effective the weekend of May 29-30, 2021, except for those with serious reasons for not attending.

The Diocese of Gaylord will continue to thoroughly review these updated [MDHHS and CDC] guidelines and will provide further details about the implications for our parishes early next week.  

This weekend, and in the immediate term, we can expect that there may be variations from parish to parish in the implementation of these guidelines; as parishes work to adjust according to their particular circumstances.

 


Updated Guidance from CDC Regarding: Masks, Social Distancing, Etc. (5/14/21)

DATE: May 14, 2021
TO: Priests, Directors of Parish Life, Deacons, Parish Staff, Diocesan Staff
FROM: Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley
RE: Masks, Social Distancing, Etc.

The Centers for Disease Control has issued new guidance that fully vaccinated people — during outdoor or indoor activities, large or small — do not need to wear masks or socially distance, with a few limitations. While this CDC guidance does not supersede any federal, state or local regulations that are in place, this change has significant implications for our parishes, offices and schools.

I send this to let you know that we are studying the implications of this new guidance, and once there is further clarity, we will provide updated guidance for our parishes as soon as possible. This will likely change our capacity rules, as well as many others. We are in the process of making these changes that will impact our parishes, and once they are made, they will be effective immediately.

You should also expect a move towards the lifting of the dispensation from attending Mass, effective the weekend of May 29-30, 2021, except for those with serious reasons for not attending.

We will continue to examine the new guidance and implications for our parishes, and will keep you informed as quickly as possible. More information will be forthcoming in the early days of next week.

For the time being, please stay the course for a few more days. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we navigate these choppy waters together.

 


MDHHS Order Extension through May 24, 2021 (4/26/21)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has extended the prior Gatherings and Face Mask Order through May 24, 2021. There are no changes to prior guidelines that were sent out on March 4 (which can be found below