Visitors attend mass in the Vitus Church in Hilversum, Netherlands, on Oct. 11, 2020. / Photo by JEROEN JUMELET/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

CNA Newsroom, Sep 6, 2022 / 10:00 am (CNA).

A diocese in the Netherlands says it will no longer offer Mass every Sunday in its parishes. 

Instead, the Diocese of Roermond, in the country’s south, informed parishes in a letter of moving toward offering Mass only every other week. 

Due to a shortage of priests and to save on energy costs, the diocese said it was abandoning its previous rule of offering at least one Sunday service in every parish.

“In addition, in some places, so few people participate in the Eucharist that it is much more motivating to bring together believers from different parishes in one joint eucharistic celebration,” Vicar General René Maessen wrote in the letter, dated August 2022.

“Financial arguments can also play a role in the consideration of no longer offering a Eucharist every week, but for example, once every two weeks,” the diocese wrote on its website.

These included in particular the high cost of gas and electricity. “Although financial reasons should never be the main item in pastoral affairs, they cannot be disregarded either,” Maessen said.

The decision was not made lightly, Maessen assured Catholics.

According to Dutch News, there are 3.7 million Catholics in the Netherlands, but only 4% regularly attend Mass. Roermond’s diocese is one of two dioceses with a majority of Catholics.