As we begin the new pastoral year we are faced with many challenges that make it difficult and in some cases seemingly impossible to launch this new year. The effects of the pandemic on our ability to meet, to gather, to pray together, and to socialize are considerable.
Social distancing, registering for Mass, wearing masks, washing and sanitizing hands, cleaning the church, and many other requirements create an artificial and sterile atmosphere for the celebration of the liturgy. These conditions are not ideal and still after two months, they are foreign and even a little uncomfortable.
That we can gather in such circumstances and with these restrictions is due in large part to the willingness of parishioners and our volunteers to adhere to the directives from the Archdiocese and the Ontario and Ottawa Medical Officers. Each Sunday and on weekdays, you choose to attend Mass in a way that protects you and others from corona virus.
With Medical personnel and experts warning of a second wave, the like of which we are seeing in parts of our country and the world, we cannot decrease our vigilance or adherence to the WorshipSafe directives from the Archdiocese and to the public health directives from the City of Ottawa.
When coming to Mass, we must continue to:
- Register for Mass (except on Weekdays);
- Arrive before the time Mass starts, late-comers cannot be admitted;
- Maintain 2 meters between individuals, couples, or families (see taped lines);
- Wear a mask: covering nose, mouth, and chin throughout the liturgy, except to receive Communion;
- Follow the directional markers in the church aisles (taped arrows): enter by the center aisle only and exit by the side aisles only.
- Follow the ushers who will direct you to your seat;
- Remain in your seat except for the Communion procession;
- Leave the church at the end of Mass, following the ushers directions;
- Refrain from social time at the church entrance and in the parking lot;
Together we can worship safely and reverently, while being respectful of one another’s health and well-being. Corona virus and the pandemic will not last forever; while they are part of our reality we need to do all we can for one another to stay healthy and safe. St. Paul tells us, “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith” (Gal 6:9-10).