21 November 2020
St. Mary's Church:
An update on the changes we are implementing due to the recent provincial announcement of the Peel region "Lockdown"
We want to thank all the parishioners of St. Mary's for their ongoing support during this period of great uncertainty. It has been wonderful to see so many of you at Mass since we re-opened in June. We are especially grateful to the volunteers who have helped ensure our church is a safe place to gather – they have done incredible work!
As you know, the number of new COVID-19 cases in the Greater Toronto Area have increased significantly in recent days and, at present, Toronto and Peel Regions are in the "Lockdown Stage" as identified by the Province of Ontario. In addition, Premier Ford announced on November 20, 2020 special emergency measures that need to be taken in our area.
For this reason, as of Monday, November 23rd, we must restrict attendance inside the church to 10 people, including priests hearing confessions or a staff member/volunteer to monitor capacity restrictions.
Sadly, due to these measures, public Masses must be temporarily cancelled. We Priests will continue to celebrate private Mass daily for the intentions of parishioners and for those suffering from Covid-19.
However, St. Mary's Church will remain open throughout the week for private prayer:
From Monday to Friday, the church will remain open for private prayer from 9:30am to 8pm
On Saturdays, the church will remain open for private prayer from 9:30am to 11am only.
On Sundays, the Church will remain open for private prayer from 12:30pm to 4pm.
(Note: During these times for private prayer we will need to maintain the 10 person limit capacity at all times.)
While I recognize it is not a substitute for attending Mass in person, I encourage you to view online/livestream/televised Masses. I encourage you to make a "Sacred Space" of the place you will be viewing the mass. Think of decorating a table with a candle, statues of Jesus and Mary (or holy pictures), the Bible etc. This will enable you to enter more fully into the mystery of the Eucharist and to receive our Blessed Lord "Spiritually" with greater intensity.
We will continue to livestream our Daily masses at 9am from Monday to Saturday.
On Sundays we will livestream our Masses at 9:30am in Spanish and 11am in English.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation will continue to be heard on Friday evenings from 6-7pm and on Saturdays from 9:45am to 11am. Again, only 10 persons will be allowed at any one time – this will include the priests hearing Confessions.
Weddings, funerals and baptisms will now be restricted to 10 persons, including those who are involved in ministry (priest, cantor, etc.).
All non-essential meetings in the parish will move to virtual meetings or they may be postponed.
Our Parish office will remain closed during this time. Any essential meetings with priests and staff will need to be by appointment only. Our staff will continue to work remotely from their homes and we will be monitoring emails and phone messages on a daily bases. We will try to respond to your requests and needs as quickly as we can.
We ask you to remember us with your ongoing financial support. We encourage you to consider using pre-authorized giving, or one of the other means available to you through our Parish Website. If you wish to give your donations using your weekly envelops you can drop them off at the back door of the Rectory where you will find a screened white door with a mail slot. We thank you in advance for remembering us financially.
We recognize these measures are extremely challenging. I am also so incredibly grateful for the efforts of our heroic volunteers who have been faithfully welcoming parishioners and cleaning the church between services, ensuring that we can operate safely and responsibly. Your selflessness and generosity is inspiring!
So many of the faithful rely on the reception of the sacraments and our churches to find solace, peace and support during this period of pandemic. Despite these new restrictions, we will make every effort to continue our outreach to you. We also ask that you find opportunities to assist those who are vulnerable, or alone among us.
We will continue to update you as the situation evolves. Please continue to refer to our Parish Website, Facebook and YouTube channels. We will continue to produce our Weekly E-Newsletter where you will find information about our church and its activities, as well as wonderful links to develop our faith life and knowledge of our Catholic Church.
We pray that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy. May God continue to bless you now and always!
Fr. Liborio Amaral