Ordinary Time: Renew, Reboot, Reopen!
What a year it has been, especially the past three months! As we return to the Sundays of Ordinary Time, we do so filled with so many graces: the joy of the Resurrection at Easter, of the Lord’s promise to be with us “always, until the end of time” at his Ascension, realized in the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and deepened in our pondering of the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and of Christ’s self-gift in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. We have continued to celebrate and live these great feasts, even when physical distance prevented us from being physically together to share the Eucharist as we normally do.
This week marked two other great feasts: last Friday was the solemnity of the Sacred Heart, a beautiful symbol of Christ’s heart burning with compassion for his people, and this Wednesday is the Birth of St. John the Baptist – the last and greatest of the prophets, who proclaimed the coming of Christ, honoured in a special way as our patron saint here in Quebec. As well, this Sunday is Father’s Day – a wonderful occasion to thank God for the gift of our own fathers and grandfathers, for all the ways they have blessed us with love, support and guidance.
You have probably heard by now that effective June 22, the Quebec government has authorized public gatherings of up to 50 people. This opens the door to the long-awaited reopening of our places of worship. A team at the Archdiocese has been hard at work putting together a protocol of steps all churches will need to take to reopen their worship space in a safe and secure manner.
As we put this protocol into practice, we, like all parishes, will face our own unique challenges, and adopt our own timeline for welcoming parishioners back, while respecting the guidelines. Be assured that our first priority will be to ensure your safety by implementing the necessary health and security measures.
The guidelines recommend a gradual re-opening, recognizing that the church is a place both of personal prayer and sacramental worship. First, the physical space of the church needs to be prepared: signage, pews marked off to guarantee social distancing, sanitary measures, and the like. Supplies must be ordered. Volunteers will need to be recruited and trained to put the protocol into practice in our unique context: hospitality, security, sacristy, liturgical ministers, communication. Only when we have completed this and received approval from the Archdiocese will we be able to re-open the church for personal prayer, the sacrament of Reconciliation, Sunday and daily Masses, and other services like baptisms, weddings, and funerals. To volunteer, either e-mail or leave a message for Gina, our secretary, at the parish office.
We will make every effort to keep you informed of our plan of action, using the communications means available: signs, telephone, e-mail, Facebook, our website, and our YouTube channel where video resources can be accessed.
With the severe restrictions on the number of people able to attend Mass in person, we are working on finding a way to “manage the traffic” so that those who desire to come to the church for Mass are able to do so. We will be continuing online transmission of Sunday Mass at 10:00 A.M., and improving the technology allowing us to do that live from the church. Please join us for Mass this Sunday. Please continue to participate in our online Masses, and share this good news with friends, neighbours, and fellow parishioners through your own connections, so no one falls between the cracks.
Adjusting to life during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy for any of us. But despite our physical separation from one another, we remain confident and united to you in spiritual communion. Thank you for your ongoing support and co-operation as we begin this time of gradual “deconfinement.”
God bless you all!
Your Pastoral Team:Fr. Raymond Lafontaine, E.V., Pastor Fr. Lloyd Baugh, S.J. Anna Diodati Jennie Armstrong Mark Boyer Gina Yee Francisco Sierra