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Letter from Denver bishops on the resumption of public Masses

To the lay faithful of northern Colorado,

Greetings in the Risen Lord!

On March 13, we joined our brother bishops of Colorado in making the difficult decision to suspend public Mass out of concern for the common good of the people of our parishes and the people of Colorado, i.e., their safety and health amidst the onset of the Coronavirus. At the time, 56 days ago, we did not foresee the suspension lasting as long as it has and have determined that it is now time to resume public celebration of the Mass in a limited and gradual manner.

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We know that this time of fasting from the Eucharist has been a particularly difficult burden on all of you, especially during Holy Week, Easter, and the Easter season. It has truly been a sacrifice, but as is true with any sacrifice, it has not been in vain. Regularly, over 210,000 people attend Mass each weekend in our state. As the Church is one of the largest organizations in Colorado, we have a moral obligation to do our part to protect the health of our members and our fellow citizens. Your sacrifice of not being able to participate in Mass and receive the Eucharist has aided the larger goal of substantially limiting the spread of the virus and its impact on the vulnerable.

In the Archdiocese of Denver, public Mass will resume in a limited way on Saturday, May 9. It is important for everyone to realize that the 149 locations where Mass is typically celebrated across northern Colorado vary in size and capabilities; they are located in various municipalities, and thus, how the public celebration of the Mass resumes will be different at each parish. What we can say is that extreme caution will be used, that strict physical distancing will be observed, and that pastors will consult the guidance issued by state and local health authorities. This, of course, will mean that access to the Masses celebrated over the next few months will be very limited. We will not go back to the way it was in early March when Masses were cancelled. It will be important to check with your parish website if Mass will be offered, when it will be offered and how to attend due to the limitations.

Since the faithful will continue to be dispensed from the obligation to participate in person at a Sunday Mass, those who make an effort to attend limited public Mass should not expect to do so with regularity and should be willing to attend on any day of the week. Important to note too: it is still recommended that those 65 and older and those with certain underlying medical conditions, shelter at home. This means some of our priests who fall into these at-risk categories and do not yet feel comfortable celebrating public Masses may refrain from doing so.

As we approach the Feast of Pentecost, let us all call upon the power of the Holy Spirit to give us the gifts, fruits, and graces we need to meet the challenge of resuming public Masses with great mercy and solidarity.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.L.
Archbishop of Denver

Most Reverend Jorge Rodriguez, S.T.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver

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