Louisiana Diocese Ends Mask Requirement at Mass, but Bishop Advises ‘Continued Vigilance’

The statement followed the decision of Gov. John Bel Edwards, who ended mask requirements on Wednesday.

Holy Mass in the Church Our Lady of Queen during the coronavirus pandemic.
Holy Mass in the Church Our Lady of Queen during the coronavirus pandemic. (photo: Dziurek / Shutterstock)

BATON ROUGE, La. — A Louisiana bishop has lifted mask requirements for Mass in several of the state’s cities, but he still encouraged parishioners to follow previous coronavirus regulations during worship. 

“While masks will no longer be required for those attending Mass in our diocesan Catholic churches, I do still strongly encourage those at Mass to continue to wear masks, and also to socially distance themselves as best they can,” said Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, according to the Louisiana newspapers The Courier and Daily Comet

The statement followed the decision of Gov. John Bel Edwards, who ended mask requirements on Wednesday. According to the bishop, parishioners in Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Morgan City will no longer be required to wear masks to attend Mass. 

However, safety regulations, such as social distancing, capacity limitations, and masks, will still be required at Catholic school Masses. 

“With the concerns regarding the virus still very much part of our everyday lives, we cannot lose sight of the importance of our continued vigilance because the pandemic’s hold on our state, country and world has not completely subsided, and the fight against this virus continues,” the bishop said, according to Houma Today.

“With the great many elderly, homebound, and immuno-compromised of our faithful unable to attend Mass, I am also maintaining that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains dispensed for all Catholics in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux at this time.”

Oscar Wergeland, “Service in a German Village Church,” ca. 1880

This Sunday, I’ll Be Going to Church. Will You Join Me?

“The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.” [CCC 2181]