The Bishops of Malta and Gozo have formally reinstituted the obligation on the faithful to attend Mass on Sundays following the withdrawal of the dispensation granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a pastoral message, to be read in all churches this weekend to mark the Solemn Feast of the Holy Eucharist, the Bishops said the new instruction, required by Canon Law, takes effect from Sunday 18th June 2023 and applies to all those who are physically capable of attending Mass.

“We understand there are those who cannot physically go to church for a valid reason. We invite them to do their utmost to spend time praying to God.  The Mass transmitted on television, radio and other social media is indeed a great help to those who cannot go to church. Those who can go to church should do so as they accept the invitation of the Lord: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the lamb.’”

Quoting extensively from the profound catechesis delivered by Pope Francis in 2017, the pastoral letter states:

“Why do we go to Mass on Sundays? It is not enough to respond that it is a precept of the Church; this helps to preserve its value, but alone does not suffice. We Christians need to participate in Sunday Mass because only with Jesus’ grace, with his living presence within us and among us, can we put his commandment into practice, and thus be his credible witnesses…

“The Sunday encounter with the Lord gives us the strength to experience the present with confidence and courage, and to go forth with hope. For this reason we Christians go to encounter the Lord on Sunday, in the Eucharistic celebration.”

The bishops said: “May the celebration of Sunday Mass in our parishes and churches be a beautiful encounter with God and between us that invigorates and renews us for the life of Christian love. Let us always remember the precious prayer taught to us by St George Preca: ‘Thank you Lord God, forgive me Lord God’, ‘Lord God, I need you’.”

The Bishop’s pastoral message:

The Bishop’s pastoral message in sign language: