Effective March 15, 2021
As of Monday, March 15, Sarnia-Lambton will be moved to the Grey Zone. Public health regions will stay in their level for at least two weeks. The government will then assess the impact of public health and workplace safety measures to determine if the region should stay where they are or be moved to a different level. The Government of Ontario has made an adjustment to the percentage of people who may attend indoor worship services when we are in the Grey Zone. Our churches will now be able to remain open with 15% capacity. At Sacred Heart Church this permits approximately 74 persons and at St. Michael Church approximately 100 persons. Please note the following changes or adjustments:
- Mass for the upcoming weekend – March 13/14 are not affected by this announcement and will continue as usual to a maximum of 30% capacity
- The First Reconciliation Services scheduled for this weekend, March 13 & 14 are not affected by this announcement and will continue as scheduled
- Beginning Monday, March 15, all daily Masses will continue as scheduled to a maximum of 15% capacity.
- The First Reconciliation Service will take place as scheduled on March 17 with 3 persons per family permitted including the child celebrating First Reconciliation in order to not exceed 15% capacity.
- Communal Penance Services with General Absolution are cancelled.
- Masses for the weekends of March 20/21 and March 27/28 will be by reservation. Reservations for these Masses will be accepted beginning Monday, March 15.
- Holy Week & Easter Mass reservations will continue to be accepted to the 15% capacity at this time.
- Baptisms will continue as scheduled to a maximum of 15% capacity.
COVID-19 Update From Bishop Fabbro (Update #18)
- February 26, 2021 (le français suit)
COVID-19 UPDATE FROM BISHOP FABBRO (Update #18)
With the lifting of the lock-down across the Diocese, the Episcopal Council met to consider a few specific questions.
1. Stations of the Cross
Throughout the season of Lent, the traditional devotion of Stations of the Cross may be observed in churches. One person will preside from the ambo or other place in the sanctuary. If space permits respecting the distancing, a cross-bearer may move from station to station. The usual restrictions of capacity and distancing must be observed. Registration and retention of contact-tracing information, as carried out for Masses, are to be followed.
2. Catechetical Sessions in Churches
Churches may be used to host catechetical sessions for sacramental preparation or other such reasons. It is expected that such sessions be done within the context of a prayer service. It is most fitting to begin, after the Sign of the Cross, with a call to prayer, followed by a reading from Sacred Scripture. It would be appropriate to offer some intercessions for the Church, the parish, and the participants. The usual restrictions of capacity and distancing must be observed. Registration and retention of contact-tracing information, as carried out for Masses, are to be followed.
3. Use of Masks During the Liturgy
With the lessening of restrictions concerning the wearing of masks, it is expected that masks must be worn by all who participate at Mass in a church. Those who are presiders, deacons or lectors may remove their masks only when leading prayers, proclaiming the Scriptures, or preaching, and for the reception of Holy Communion. Masks must be worn at all other times. The exemptions to this directive were previously given in Update #13, including directions for those who require an exemption.
4. Parish Offices
Until further notice offices remain closed, and staff are only to come into the office to work on tasks they are unable to do at home. Use of masks is mandatory when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
We are now hopeful that all will soon be able to receive a vaccine. We have been encouraged, nonetheless, to maintain vigilance and care in our day-to-day lives. This care must also be part of our participation in church-related activities. Let us all do our part, as we continue to pray for an end to the pandemic and for all who have been affected by it.
Most Rev. Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B.
Bishop of London
26 février 2021
MISE À JOUR DE MGR FABBRO SUR LA COVID-19 (no 18)
Avec la fin du confinement à la grandeur du diocèse, le Conseil épiscopal s’est réuni pour étudier quelques questions précises.
1. Le Chemin de la croix
Pendant le Carême, on pourra célébrer dans les églises l’exercice de piété traditionnel du chemin de la croix. Une personne présidera de l’ambon ou d’un autre endroit dans le sanctuaire. Si l’espace permet de respecter la distanciation, quelqu’un pourra porter la croix d’une station à l’autre. Il faudra respecter les restrictions habituelles quant à la capacité et à la distanciation. Comme pour la messe, les gens devront s’inscrire et on conservera un registre pour la recherche des contacts.
2. Les séances de catéchèse dans les églises
On pourra se servir des églises pour organiser des séances de catéchèse en vue de la préparation aux sacrements ou pour d’autres motifs semblables. On s’attend à ce que ces séances se tiennent dans le cadre d’une célébration de prière. Il conviendra donc de commencer par le signe de la croix, un appel à la prière et la lecture d’un texte de l’Écriture. On formulera des intentions de prière pour l’Église, pour la paroisse et pour les personnes présentes. Il faudra respecter les restrictions habituelles quant à la capacité et à la distanciation. Comme pour la messe, les gens devront s’inscrire et on conservera un registre pour la recherche des contacts.
3. Le port du masque pendant la liturgie
Avec l’assouplissement des restrictions concernant le port du masque, on s’attend à ce que toutes les personnes qui participent à la messe à l’église portent le masque. Le président, les diacres ou les lecteurs pourront retirer leur masque au moment de réciter les prières, de proclamer l’Écriture ou de donner l’homélie, et pour la réception de la Sainte Communion. Autrement, il faut toujours porter le masque. Les exemptions à la présente directive ont déjà été exposées dans la Mise à jour 13, ainsi que les directives pour les personnes qui ont besoin d’une exemption.
4. Les bureaux paroissiaux
Jusqu’à nouvel ordre, les bureaux restent fermés et les membres du personnel ne se présentent au bureau que pour réaliser un travail qu’ils ne peuvent faire à domicile. Le port du masque est obligatoire quand on ne peut respecter la distanciation physique.
Nous espérons maintenant que tout le monde pourra bientôt être vacciné. On nous incite néanmoins à faire preuve de vigilance et de sollicitude dans notre quotidien. Cette sollicitude et cette prudence doivent aussi caractériser notre participation aux activités de la communauté chrétienne. Faisons toutes et tous notre part, et continuons de prier pour la fin de cette pandémie et pour toutes les personnes qui en ont été affectées.
Mgr Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B.
Évêque de London
To: The Faithful of the Diocese of London
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I pray that you and your families are safe and healthy during these challenging times.
Following Premier Ford’s announcement earlier today, I am happy to inform you that our Diocese is now beginning the process of reopening our churches. This is exciting news for us and all other faith communities in Ontario. The announcement, with the changes it makes to restrictions on gatherings, recognizes the importance of places of worship. We are grateful to Premier Ford and Minister McNaughton, the Minister designated to lead the coordination with faith communities during the pandemic.
With this news, I ask for your patience. We have been working hard to prepare for the reopening of our churches, but we will need some time to make sure our communities can worship safely.
As we move towards reopening as soon as possible, the following priorities guide our planning:
- The health and safety of the faithful, clergy, staff and volunteers;
- Proactive measures to avoid the potential of a second wave of this virus;
- Recognizing the basic commandment – love of God and of neighbour – we have a responsibility to care for one another and protect our communities.
Be assured that a detailed plan to reopen is now being finalized. We have not yet set a date, but it will be communicated as soon as we are ready. Many things need to be put in place before we can reopen, including adjusting church seating plans, and training clergy, lay ministers, staff and volunteers in how to be safe and keep our communities safe. We pray that these extraordinary measures will be temporary, but for this to be the case we must follow the advice of health authorities to minimize any potential transmission of the virus when we resume services.
I realize that not being able to celebrate Mass and not having access to the sacraments has been very painful for all of us. It has been encouraging to me to receive many messages from people who have used this time to grow spiritually as they found other ways to pray, worship online and be closer to God. I thank you, our people, and our priests and pastoral teams, for the remarkable efforts you have made to support one another in the faith over the past several months.
Given the capacity restrictions of 30% that are in place when we reopen our churches, parishes will continue to livestream Masses wherever possible, recognizing all will not be able to gather at this time. Because some people may be sick, have a compromised immune system, or feel uncomfortable returning to church, the dispensation of the obligation for Sunday Mass remains in effect until further notice.
Approaching these uncertain days with a spirit of kindness and generosity to one another will help us all as we navigate the path ahead. I continue to be inspired by the countless acts of goodwill and charity taking place throughout our Diocese.
May we continue to pray for the sick, those who have died during this pandemic and for those caring for them. Be assured of my gratitude for your patience and faithfulness during this closure period. You remain in my prayers.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B.
Bishop of London