Diocese issues statement on attending Mass during inclement weather

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — The severe weather and blizzard forecasts have given rise to many questions regarding the obligation to attend Mass this weekend.

Canon law of the Catholic Church (1247) states that on Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the mass.  However, the law does not expect the impossible nor can the fulfillment of the obligation according to the norm of the law be burdensome or dangerous.

There is no obligation to attend Mass if weather and/or road conditions are unsafe or make travel dangerous or difficult, or, if one is unable to get out of their driveway or parked space.

If there is snow emergency in place by the state or local authorities, traveling for Mass is illegal, imprudent and immoral, as it risks your life as well as the lives of others, and becomes a danger to those trying to clear the roadways for future safe travel; thus, the obligation to attend Mass would also not be in force.

Those persons who are unable to attend Mass this weekend may view the celebration of Mass on television, depending on local television schedules. Some time should be given to private or family prayer in order to sanctify the Lord’s Day.

Prayers should be offered for those affected by the storm.

Specific decisions about individual parishes and Mass schedules will be determined by the Pastors of those parishes in areas affected by the weather conditions.   The information about those decisions will be communicated locally.