Church Opening Protocol
We have all heard the wonderful news that the Ontario government has allowed for the opening of churches and places of worship. What does this mean for us ordinary believers? Well, this permission is subject to many conditions that must be met and adhered to. The most important is social distance, i.e. a space of two meters from one another on all four sides. This regulation significantly limits the number of people who can enter the church.
This coming Sunday, June 14th, Mass in all churches will still be livestreamed online. In our parish, Masses will be celebrated at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. in English, 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. At 2 p.m. the church will be opened for the first time in 3 months and there will be an opportunity for private adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the church until 9 p.m. Unfortunately, there will be no Corpus Christi procession this year, although one symbolic altar will be set up next to the entrance by the parking lot.
On Monday and Tuesday, the church will be open for private prayer from 8:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. In order to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Health, only a limited number of people will be allowed to enter the church.
The Chapel of Perpetual Adoration will open on Sunday at 7 o’clock in the morning. 24-hour adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and regular adoration schedule will resume at this time. Maximum 6 people can be present in the chapel.
Beginning Wednesday, June 17th, churches will be open and the faithful can begin to participate in Mass. As always, social distance must be observed. Inside the church, only seats marked with yellow tape may be occupied. Please note that occupancy of the church building is significantly reduced. The maximum capacity is as follows: main church – 90; choir loft – 65; hallway – 35; parish hall – 110.
During the pandemic, in all churches in Ontario and in Canada, Holy Communion can only be received on the hand. There are absolutely no exceptions in this respect. Also, there will be no music in the church for the next few weeks. The organist will play, but there must be no singing. Parish bulletins will also not be printed; they will only be available online.
Next week, we resume our regular Mass schedule. Please note that only one entrance, the one beside the Oblate cross, will be open. The Parish Council, Scouts, and Kolbe Youth volunteers will keep count of the faithful as they come in and direct them to their seats. The parish hall will also be transformed into a church, Mass will be broadcast directly from the church upstairs, and Fathers will come down to distribute Holy Communion. Others may participate in Mass by staying in their cars in the parking lot. It is strongly recommended that all faithful wear protective masks in the church at all times. Only one altar server (or two siblings), one lector, and Eucharistic Ministers may serve at Mass.
As for the sacrament of confession, a distance of 2 meters is also required. Unfortunately, our confessionals do not meet these requirements. Therefore, beginning Wednesday, June 17th, confession will be available from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the new Catechetical Centre in Sr. Faustina Room, St. Eugene Room, and Br. Anthony Room. As soon as all restrictions are lifted, we will organize confession with the presence of many priests. Face masks are mandatory during confession. Please be patient to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.
Funerals and weddings may take place in the church in the presence of 10 people. Baptisms are to take place outside of Mass.
Families who wish to have their child receive First Holy Communion on a weekday at the 7 p.m. Mass are asked to call the parish office next week and sign up for a particular date. We have been given permission from Cardinal Collins for individual First Communion on weekdays.
We would like to remind you that during the pandemic, we have been granted dispensation from physical participation in Mass in the church. However, we are still obliged to participate in it through the media. If you feel sick or weak, if you have a fever or cough you should not come to church at this time. It is understandable that not everyone will be able to come to church right away because of the limited space.
Brothers and sisters, our personal and spiritual lives are slowly returning to normal. We still have to get through the next few months, which is why I am asking you for patience, understanding, mutual respect, and compliance with the requirements of the Ministry of Health. We have received a clear warning that churches that do not adhere to the above-mentioned requirements will be closed again. Together, we can get through this difficult time.