Fr. Jim gives an update on the safe reopening of the Cathedral that include the reintroduction of the celebration of weekday and weekend Masses, sacraments, and making available an online Sunday Prayer Service. In his letter are the Parish Annual Thanksgiving Appeal and other important announcements. A copy of his letter is found here.
New Weekend Mass Times
New Weekend Mass times beginning the weekend of October 17/ 18 are the following:
Saturday: 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.
Attendance at Weekend Masses will be by Reservation.
Reservations may be made by phone OR online through our parish website. Reservations by phone or online will be available each Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00a.m. -12:00 p.m. for the upcoming weekend.
Reservations will be on a "first come first serve" basis, one weekend at a time. You may not register for more than one mass a weekend.
The doors to the church will open 30 minutes before Mass. All those with reservations must arrive no later than 15 minutes before mass for registration, prescreening check, and seating. Arriving late may result in your seat being given away to those arriving without a reservation.
Those arriving without a reservation are not guaranteed a seat. Prescreening at home is expected by everyone attending mass:
If you have any of the following: Fever, Cough, Fatigue, Runny Nose, Chills involving shakes, Muscle aches, Shortness of breath, Loss of appetite, Been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, loss of sense of taste or smell, or Travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 day you must not attend.
Masks or face coverings, covering the nose, mouth, and chin, are mandatory and are to be worn at all times in the church (exemptions include- children under 12, those with underlying medical conditions unable to wear a mask, etc.).
As we move into this new form of registration, please be patient with our office staff and volunteers. We are all in this together!
Our Seating Capacity
Many of you may have been surprised to read in Fr. Jim’s letter to the parish that our seating capacity is 116. Wondering how we figured that out? Here goes: The official seating capacity is 800. The 30% capacity as stipulated by the government brings us to a number of 240. Our support staff spent hours in the Cathedral measuring out the required 6 feet physical distancing standard in the pews and from pew to pew, resulting in every 3rd pew being able to be used. Also, all aisles needed to be measured from the perspective of someone standing in the aisle, so the measurement needed to be taken from the shoulder, 6 feet into the pew to begin the actual seating.
This has left us with seating as follows- Centre pews: we will be able to utilize 8 pews each side, with available seating for 3-5 people per pew, capacity total approximately 64 people.
In the side aisles we will be able to utilize 8 pews each side with seating capacity of 2 per pew, capacity total approximately 32 people. We have designated both transepts as seating for people with disabilities/mobility issues. Sufficient space has been allowed for wheelchairs/other motorized devices, walkers, etc. in front of the pews with space for a companion that may attend with them to sit, as well as for seating for those with mobility issues in pews behind. The seating allows for 2 pews in the east transept and 1 pew in the west transept to be utilized, total capacity approximately 20 people. To view our seating plan, click here.
Whether you will be able to join us in person this weekend or not, you can view a “gallery of photos” to see what the church will look like to further explain the seating and the physical distancing measures in place.
Preparing for Mass Again
This week all pastoral teams received the finalized version of “Directions and Recommendations for the First Stage of Reopening Churches” from the Diocese of London. The document is adapted from a detailed document of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario. Earlier this week your pastoral team attended a diocesan-sponsored webinar and met several times to determine what St. Peter's Cathedral needs in place in order to safely reopen our building. We are determining the seating capacity, accounting for the 6 feet social distancing in the pews and aisles, working on volunteer recruitment and training, as well ensuring that appropriate measures for the use of personal protective equipment and all cleaning and sanitizing products are in place.
As we finalize our plans for reopening, our number one priority will continue to be the health and safety of our parishioners. As Bishop Fabbro has stated previously: “we want to ensure that we reopen our churches in a manner which is prudent and responsible and which allows for the reverent celebration of the Eucharist”.
Our primary focus will be directed to the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist.
To begin, Masses will commence on the weekend of Saturday July 4th/Sunday July 5th and will be celebrated at the following times:
Saturday: 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 9:00 a.m. & 12:00 p.m.
This Mass schedule will be in effect until Labour Day when it will be reviewed. Mass attendance will be on a “first come, first serve” basis. The Cathedral will remain closed during the week as will the parish offices and Parish Centre. As we continue to monitor and assess things we will make necessary adjustments.
We know this has been a difficult time for many not being able to be with their community and celebrate the sacraments. For those who will choose to return to our worship space we ask you to exercise patience and charity with our volunteers and our staff. For those who will be unable to attend at this time know that the community holds you in prayer at every Mass.
We Will Need Help
As we await the final guidelines and detailed plans on the re-opening of our Worship Spaces soon to be released by Bishop Fabbro, of paramount importance will be the health and safety of our community. We all recognise the church building we left in March will not “look the same” when we do open our doors. The preparation of the worship space with the adjustment of seating necessary to adhere to the 30% seating capacity and ensuring the 2m/6ft social distancing is observed at all times throughout the Cathedral will just be the beginning of what is necessary to re-open our doors safely.
We can do all that will be required of us, but we cannot do any of this without you! At every mass we will need a number of volunteers to assist with welcoming and registering of our parishioners, seating of parishioners, directing of traffic flow in and out of the Cathedral and at communion, and sanitizing of the Cathedral after every mass. We will have more specific “role descriptions” in the days ahead of what will be expected and provide the adequate training in order to carry out all tasks safely and effectively.
Please prayerfully consider how you might be able to contribute to this. Please contact Cathryn Hall.