ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Arlington Diocese lifted capacity and social distancing restrictions for mass. Bishop Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington said this is a step towards normalcy.

Burbidge said, “It is an incredible joy to be back. We’ve waited a long time. As you know, it’s been very challenging and difficult times for us, the pandemic has radically changed the way we work, the way we live, and even the way we worship.”

Parish members can once again celebrate together without the need for social distancing or capacity limitations under Governor Ralph Northam’s mandate.

With the new protocol, all the pews are open, musicians are back, hymnals are no longer limited and live streaming of services will slowly come to an end.

“For Catholics who are able, who are physically and emotionally able to attend mass your expected to be here its our obligations as Catholics” said Burbidge.

Christine Silva, a Parish member at St. Leo the Great in Fairfax will be going back to church this weekend. Silva said she’s looking forward to exchanging the sign of peace.

“Things being back to just looking normal feeling for normal, worshiping within the larger church community. We just absolutely cant wait to see those pews filled, and it’s going to be amazing,” said Silva.

With 70 churches in the Diocese of Arlington, the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass will be lifted at the end of June.

According to officials, this obligation does not apply to those who are ill. Those who have reason to believe that they were recently exposed to the coronavirus, another serious or contagious illness along with those who are confined to their home, a hospital or a nursing facility.