I pray that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. This has been both an exceptional and challenging time for all of us. Feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, loneliness and gratitude are ones which we have all felt. During this difficult time, please know the Redemptorist priests have carried you and your intentions in our masses and daily prayers each day.
You may have heard that we are now able to re-open our churches once again. We are thankful as this time of closure has been painful and difficult. As we implement our re-opening plans we must do so with prudence and caution, ensuring that we continue to do everything possible to reduce the potential spread of the virus.
When you return to St. Patrick's, things will look a little different. Some of our physical distancing procedures for sitting, going to Communion and other things may feel uncomfortable, overly restrictive, and maybe just strange. While this feeling will be common to all of us, our physical distancing and other precautionary measures is our way of loving and caring for our neighbour and of trying to keep each other as safe as we can. However, to prevent us from having to close once again and to keep everyone as safe, we must all do our part and make the best of this challenging situation.
One of the biggest challenges in re-opening is that we must do so in phases. At the present time, provincial health officials have given permission for churches to allow seating at 30% of their regular capacity. St. Patrick's has a practical and comfortable seating capacity of 545, which means that we may have up to 164 people at each Mass. We have identified approximately 80 physically-distant individual or household spaces in the pews, and so this will also be a factor in determining how many people can be admitted.
Please refer to our revised Mass schedule included in this update. We have had to temporarily revise our regular schedule because of the extra time needed to welcome people, disinfect the church, and to ensure that we are able to have a team of volunteers at each mass throughout the week.
I am also attaching a "Guidelines for Returning to Church" document to give you a better sense of what you can expect and how you can help even before you arrive at church, when you arrive, and at points in between. The Archdiocese has also produced a short "How to Return to Mass" video that is well worth watching. We'll offer reminders/signs when you are here but it's good to review these guidelines in preparation to return. Also, in this update, you will find a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on the re-opening of the parish.
One key point that I would like to highlight is that the City of Toronto, as of July 7 has mandated that all those, over the age of 3, must now wear a mask/face covering in all public spaces included palcto prevent the potential spread of the virus. Previously, they were highly recommended, but now they are mandatory.
Finally, I invite you to consider how you might help as a volunteer. The many tasks required for re-opening are significant and we need more volunteers, especially as greeters, ushers, and cleaning teams to implement the health and safety guidelines. If you would like to volunteer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 416-598-3269 ext. 1211, or speak to one of the volunteers at the door when you come to church.
Our joy of re-opening churches is somewhat measured by the restrictions that we are required to follow. However, being able to return to the sacramental life of the church and to gather as a faith community, hopefully will be a source of encouragement, particularly during this trying time. I look forward to welcoming you back soon – be assured that you remain in my daily prayers.
In Christ, the Redeemer,
Fr. Thomas O'Rourke, C.Ss.R.
St. Patrick's Parish
Sat. Vigil Mass at 5:00pm
Sunday 8:30am, new 11:00am, 5:00pm
Mon-Tues; Thurs-Fri 12:10pm
*there will be no 7:30 am masses
9:30am, 12noon, 2:30pm, 5:05pm, 7:00pm
*there will be no 7:30am masses; and no confessions on Wednesdays, or immediately prior to Sunday masses
Saturday 3-4pm (Beginning June 20)
Tuesday 11-11:45am (Beginning June 23)
Thursday 11-11:45am (Beginning June 25)
Can I sit with my family/roommate?
Will there be singing during Mass? Will there be a choir?
How will Communion be distributed?
What precautions is the church taking to remain safe during the pandemic?
What hours will the church be open?
What are the new temporary Mass times, and why was the schedule changed?
What will seating be like during mass?
What happens if I arrive for Mass, but seating capacity has been reached?
If I or someone I live with is considered to be high risk for catching the virus, and I feel uncertain about coming to Mass, what should I do?
Will Mass continue to be offered online?
What should I do if I have come in contact with the virus?
What precautions should I take in preparing to come to Mass?
Are face masks or face coverings mandatory?
Can I bring my children to Mass? Will there be any children's programs running?
Will the parish halls and meeting rooms be open and available for group and ministry meetings?
What about Confessions?
Is the Parish Office open?