Archbishop Mark Coleridge is set to withdraw the pandemic inspired dispensation in the Brisbane Archdiocese and restore the regular Sunday obligation for Catholics to attend Mass.
The dispensation will be removed in time for Pentecost Sunday (May 28,2023).
By way of comparison most other Australian dioceses restored the obligation in late 2022.
Across the Asia Pacific region the Archdiocese of Singapore only lifted its dispensation on Easter Sunday (April 9).
In writing to the parishes and clergy across the Archdiocese, Archbishop Coleridge said the time was right to restore the obligation.
“Now that the pandemic seems to be receding, it is good for us to reflect not only upon the Sunday obligation but upon the meaning of Sunday itself,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“The first Christians always called it the Lord’s Day, in honour of the Risen Christ who is the true light of the world and the source of life.
“It was the day that looked back to the first day of creation and forward to the last day of the Lord’s return in glory.
“Even in times of persecution, Christians remained faithful unto death to the assembly of the Lord’s Day, and such spontaneous practice of the early days eventually became Church law,” he said.
The current Code of Canon Law states that ‘on Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.’
Bishops around the world reluctantly had to lift the obligation due to COVID-19 public health concerns in 2020.
That risk has now greatly receded, although parishioners still need to exercise due care for their own health and others by not attending mass when ill.
In the wake of appreciably higher attendance numbers at Easter this year, however, the Archbishop believes the wish to attend Mass springs from something other than blind obedience.
“The deepest reason we go to Mass on Sunday is not because we have decided or because the Church’s requires it but because we are drawn there by the Lord’s desire for us,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“In coming to Mass, we surrender to the Lord’s love and let ourselves be drawn by him who wants to speak to our heart and share his feast with us.
“Therefore the Sunday obligation will be restored from Pentecost Sunday, so that all of us, responding to the Risen Lord’s call, may say with one heart and voice, ‘This is the day which the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad.’”