Updates on Gathering #COVID19
Date: May 26, 2020
Catholics will be allowed to take their first steps back to church for Mass in June under new guidelines issued by the Roman Catholic Bishops of Alberta.
The Guidelines for the Reintroduction of the Public Celebration of Holy Mass were developed by a task force the Bishops established under the direction of Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton and Bishop William McGrattan of Calgary. The document follows the recent release of the Alberta government’s Guidance for Places of Public Worship as part of Stage 1 of the provincial relaunch strategy, as well as consultations with Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and other experts.
Parishes that have made the necessary preparations will be able to begin offering weekday masses on Monday, June 1, the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church; and Sunday masses as of June 7, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. In order to protect the health of parishioners, volunteers, staff and clergy, the Bishops have set a detailed list of conditions that must be met before congregants can safely be invited back to Mass. These include:
Congregants will be able to receive Holy Communion in the form of the consecrated bread, but there will be no distribution of consecrated wine. Communicants will need to wear a mask to approach for Holy Communion, as will the priest when he is distributing it.
During this first stage, singing during Mass will not be allowed, as this activity has been shown to spread respiratory droplets that can infect others with the COVID-19 coronavirus. And any socializing after Mass will have to take place outside, still observing the physical distancing protocol.
The guidelines will apply broadly to the Archdiocese of Edmonton, Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan, Diocese of Calgary, and Diocese of St. Paul. Some particulars will vary in each diocese, so parishes should consult the guidelines for their own diocese.
Parish priests will be busy in the coming days preparing for the return of congregants in small numbers. However, since parishes vary greatly in terms of facilities and resources, it is likely that not all will be able to resume public masses in the first week of June. Parishioners are encouraged to check their parish website for local information.
It has been two months since public celebrations of the Mass were cancelled in Alberta. The full reinstatement of public masses will take place gradually, in parallel with the provincial relaunch strategy.
“The return of our people to the Eucharist after all this time will be a moment of great joy for both priests and parishioners, but there is still a long way to go,” said Archbishop Smith. “We will need to demonstrate that we have succeeded in providing a safe environment for Mass with small groups before we can proceed to the next stage and open masses to larger groups. For that reason, we ask once more for your patience, understanding, and prayers as we take these first steps forward.”
Date: May 15, 2020
The Catholic Bishops of Alberta remain committed to the gradual reinstatement of public celebrations of the Mass and welcome the recent release of the Guidance for Places of Public Worship document as part of the provincial government’s relaunch strategy. These guidelines are being carefully considered by the task force that the Bishops have established under the direction of Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton and Bishop William McGrattan of Calgary.
The task force is drafting for the Bishops a set of directives for the gradual reintroduction of Masses in public. The Bishops will present these to Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. The proposed directives will take into consideration the information that will be received from the Telephone Town Hall with the Premier and the Chief Medical Officer scheduled for Thursday, May 21. No date will be set for the resumption of public liturgies in our Catholic churches and institutions until the Bishops are satisfied that their own directives can be fully and properly implemented.
Any announcement of the date for the gradual reintroduction will be made at least five days before the first scheduled Mass. Parishes by then will have received diocesan guidelines which help ensure the safety of everyone.
“It is critical that we understand the risks and take steps in minimizing the spread of COVID-19 through prudent planning,” said Bishop McGrattan. “The health and safety of our parishioners, priests, and church staff are of utmost importance. Each and every life is a precious gift from God, and we are called to do everything in our power to protect them. This has been a tremendous sacrifice on the part of the faithful who strongly desire to celebrate the Eucharist in their parish communities. We are grateful for their cooperation, their patient endurance, and especially for their prayers.”
Date: May 6, 2020
In preparation for the lifting of some restrictions on gatherings in public places in Alberta, the Catholic Bishops of Alberta are working to develop a plan for the eventual reinstatement of public celebrations of the Mass. The Bishops have established a task force under the direction of Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton and Bishop William McGrattan of Calgary. The mandate of this task force is to discern when and how this gradual reinstatement will be initiated. Their consideration will continue to be informed by the advice of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and the provincial government’s staged COVID-19 recovery plan.
“We are acutely aware of our parishioners’ fervent desire to return to the Eucharist, and we share their concern,” said Archbishop Smith. “Our careful discernment now will ensure that when the time comes, we will be ready to begin inviting the faithful back to the churches they miss so much. We are extremely grateful to all those who have made great sacrifices in the common effort to protect our brothers and sisters by preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
5/8/2020 12:10:22 pm
To whom it may concern,
5/10/2020 09:48:39 pm
When can we expect an announcement about moving forward? We need the Sacraments!
5/11/2020 06:44:58 am
Just wondering why our parish bulletin mentioned making mask wearing mandatory? It’s not a mandate from Alberta, it’s completely voluntary.
Veronica Marie Rochford
5/14/2020 10:46:13 am
Although on May 14th restrictions are lifted from "places of worship," gatherings of more than 15 people are still not permitted. This continues to prohibit the Celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for parish communities, regardless of the fact that some church spaces could accommodate social distancing. So God's people continue to be without the Mass.
5/14/2020 02:45:17 pm
As much as we all miss participation in live Eucharistic celebration we must support the health and safety of all priests, workers and parishioners. I appreciate all that the diocese is doing to keep communities together, active and safe. 🙏❤️
5/15/2020 01:43:53 pm
Pilar Rodríguez de la vega
5/16/2020 09:09:20 am
Thank you for all your hard work and payers
5/16/2020 10:00:27 am
5/16/2020 02:07:30 pm
Under the present circumstances, it will be impossible to accommodate the faithful for the masses on Saturday and Sunday. Can the Church not mandate the weekly obligation Day to be any one day in the week. Anyway masses are celebrated every day of the week. It might be something to consider even after the COVID 19 era as it will increase Church attendance and there will be less need for bigger churches and bigger parking lots. Apparently everything around us is changing so rapidly!
5/16/2020 04:22:37 pm
Thank you for making us safe! Though we are very eager to come and have regular mass, we understand what need to be done in order for everybody to be safe. Praying for all those people involve to find a solution.
5/17/2020 02:55:52 pm
The assertion that singing is a hazardous activity and shall not be permitted should be stringently opposed. This is based on anecdotal evidence and lacks concrete support in the medical literature. By the way, what steps are being discussed for the distribution of the Eucharist?
5/19/2020 08:58:59 pm
Just wondering why my reply from a couple of days ago hadn’t been posted?
5/20/2020 09:52:04 am
Thank you for making it possible for us to attend Mass virtually.
5/20/2020 06:05:17 pm
Has the Bishops' Task Force read and considered the "legal warning letter" of John Carpay, BA, LLB, President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, to the Alberta Government's Guidelines for Houses of Worship? The letter may be accessed in the LifeSiteNews article, "Legal group warns Alberta government for 'singling out' houses of worship in Covid reopening plan," May 19, 2020.
5/21/2020 10:02:47 am
- "Each and every life" matters: certainly, and context matters too. In 2018, there were 27,000 deaths in Alberta and so far this year, fewer than 200 attributed to covid. And what of the collateral consequences -- suicide, drug overdoses, untreated illnesses, delayed tests and surgeries, domestic violence, etc., are all claiming victims...sadly, silent victims. Where are the daily updates, tallies, charts and graphs for these precious gifts from God? Who will be their voice?
5/24/2020 09:46:00 am
Hello, Thank you for the broadcasting of the Masses each Sunday. It is a gift.
5/24/2020 04:21:16 pm
What’s with the requirement for recording the names of congregants who attend? I don’t plan on giving out that information as a condition of attending Mass. Nor should anyone else in a supposedly “free and democratic society”. What is being done to oppose this?
5/26/2020 06:55:22 am
Please update per june 1 opening. Not fair to leave the people in the dark.
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Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers