Persico says masks not needed at Mass for those vaccinated

From staff reports

Those attending Catholic Mass in the Erie Diocese this weekend may attend without wearing a face mask as long as they are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie, issued a decree Friday to revise the protocols concerning the celebration of public Masses.

The changes – which include fully vaccinated parishioners not needing to wear a face mask and the use of all pews in churches for seating – take effect immediately, Persico said.

Other changes that were announced Friday include the permitted use of servers, lectors, musicians and choirs. Priests may now greet parishioners before or after Mass, provided it is done outside and that they do not shake hands, and the use of confessionals is once again permitted.

A full list of the changes can be found at

Many pastors are reporting a significant increase in the number of people who are returning to Mass in person now that they have been vaccinated.

Persico said even as restrictions are being eased, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday and holy day Masses remains in place. For this reason, parishes are encouraged to continue livestreaming Mass as an option wherever feasible.

Persico said the bishops of Pennsylvania continue to take the mitigation recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health into consideration when making decisions about health and safety protocols.