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Providence diocese tells Catholics they don’t have to go to Mass

The spread of the coronavirus prompts the bishop to suspend the weekly obligation

Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin responded to a question during an interview in his office.Gretchen Ertl

PROVIDENCE -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence on Thursday suspended the obligation to attend Sunday Mass through March 29 because of the coronavirus.

Churches will continue to offer Mass throughout the diocese. But “in light of the serious health crisis caused by the coronavirus,” Bishop Thomas J. Tobin is dispensing Catholics from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for the next three weekends.

“Members of the faithful who are 60 years of age or older, particularly those with underlying health conditions, are especially encouraged to take advantage of this dispensation,” the diocese said.

To the extent possible, churches should remain open during the day for personal prayer, small group gatherings, devotions, and visits to the Blessed Sacrament, the diocese said.


Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at Follow him @FitzProv.