It seems that our time during this pandemic is expanding and we are not sure when we will be able to gather as groups and return to our church services. We must await the Government of Ontario’s plan for ‘groups’ and what measures must be in place in order for groups of people to gather.
The Ontario Bishops have set up a committee to present a plan to the Government of Ontario on how we can safely reopen our churches for services, and once this plan is accepted we will be given the OK to reopen.
I believe there will be some restrictions or limitations to our services: v.g. how many can gather in a church, social distancing, the use of sanitizers and hand washing, the cleaning of washrooms after services, and distancing for the reception of Holy Communion etc. These will all be detailed in the reopening plan. We are awaiting further information on this.
I ask that you continue to follow Mass on the internet, through our diocesan website (www.dotb.ca) or parish websites, on facebook or You Tube and other streaming means. Your priests are celebrating their daily private Masses and are remembering their parishioners in a special way in prayer, as I do each day at
my Mass. Like you, they are anxious to reopen our churches.
Unfortunately, I will have to keep our churches closed for now, until the end of June or until the government gives us a plan to reopen. Again, I ask for your patience and understanding. This is for the safety of all. Also, if you can, please continue to support your parish with your prayers and financial assistance when possible. This is important for the life of your parish church and community.
May the Lord guide us and protect us through this pandemic, and may we all remember that we are traveling this road together. We thank especially our health care workers and all those who keep us safe. There will be a time when a sense of normalcy will reappear. May Mary, Our Lady of Charity, pray for us.
Fred J. Colli
Bishop of Thunder Bay