Masses During Pandemic
Diocesan and Parish Updates
Watch This Video
February 11, 2022
With further openings by the government and lessening of restrictions the Bishop issued new directives this week. The dispensation from the Sunday obligation is now extended to the end of the Easter Season, up to and including Pentecost Sunday.
Congregational singing will be reintroduced at all liturgies. The cantor will return to singing in the sanctuary. All in the assembly must continue to wear their masks during singing. As is the protocol for the presider and readers to remove their masks during extended speaking, that cantor will also remove their mask while leading the singing. During the distribution of communion, the cantor will wear the mask as the 10feet required distance for singers cannot be maintained.
Specific directives around Ash Wednesday and Holy Week were also issued and will be communicated closer to the time.
Message from Fr. Jim
Fr. Jim gives an update on the safe reopening of the Cathedral in February 2021. His letter can be found here.
New Weekend Mass Times
Mass times beginning the weekend of February 27/ 28 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: Masks are mandatory by provincial law in all public buildings, including churches. The exemptions remain in place for those who have a medical condition and children under the age of 2. Those seeking a medical exemption from wearing a mask in our churches must bring their pastor, evidence from their physician, nurse practitioner, social worker, psychologist or occupational / respiratory physical therapist attesting to their condition. Special arrangement of seating will be followed. Those refusing to wear without a proper exemption will not be admitted to our church. (COVID 19 Update#13)
Reception of Communion: The dialogue at communion is spoken 6 feet from the communion minister. The communicant steps forward to receive communion in the hand only, steps to the side 6 feet, then removes the mask to consume, places the mask back on, and then returns to their seat. Once again we thank our many volunteers who have engaged in assisting to safely reopen our churches. Please follow their directions at all times for the health and safety of all.
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.
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.
Bishop Fabbro with the assistance of the leadership of the Diocese has set out a document entitled “Directions and Recommendations for the First Stage of Reopening Churches” from the Diocese of London.
You are welcome to read these directives that you might better understand the necessary measures we much put in place before we can celebrate the sacraments publicly once again. See Directives Here