In preparation for a safe return to church by God’s people, the archdiocese of Kingston together with other Catholic dioceses in Ontario issued some guidelines to be followed in parishes by priests, liturgical ministers and by all God’s people. It is important to carefully consider the excerpt of these guidelines tailored for use in our parish of St Mary’s.

Mass Times

During this phase 2 of re-opening, when churches are allowed to re-open, we will resume with our usual weekend Mass schedule unless otherwise adjusted and stated. Therefore, our mass times are as follows:

Saturday: 5:00 PM

Sunday: 9:00 AM

Sunday 11:00 AM

Virtual Mass 11:00 AM

Weekday masses will be scheduled in no distant time. There may be need to adjust these times depending on record of attendance. We will communicate such changes if they should arise. We will also communicate to you when our church office re-opens. Meanwhile you can always reach us at our parish numbers.

Church Capacity

We recognize that these guidelines may be awkward/uncomfortable and contrary to our culture of hospitality and community. In working to foster a safe environment for all, we thank you in advance for your patience and co-operation. Churches are limited to a 30 percent capacity. This means that our parish will witness a limited number of people attending Mass each Sunday.

Personal Care and Safety

Before coming to church: Please care for your own health. Anyone attending any liturgical celebration does so at their own risk. Please check temperature of all family members before coming to church. If any family members have a fever, please remain home for the health and safety of all. Consult your family doctor. If you exhibit any of the following symptoms, please remain home at this time – cough, fatigue, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, headache, runny nose, sore throat, chills with shakes. Attendees and volunteers from demographic groups that are at a great risk of serious illness, such as people 65 years of age or older and individuals with chronic medical conditions, are encouraged to stay safe by avoiding public gatherings, but not prohibited from attending these liturgical celebrations if they so choose. The use of masks and face coverings are recommended but not mandatory at this time. Parishioners must provide their own masks or face coverings. Arriving at church Maintain physical distancing at all times – two metres (six feet) from others – in the parking lot, church entrance and in church itself. Upon arrival, put on mask/face covering before entering church. Parishes will likely be using one entrance only – it may not be the entrance you are familiar with. Follow direction of volunteers, signage as appropriate. Sanitize hands upon entry and regularly wherever possible.

Social Distancing in Church

Our church, chairs and aisles have been properly marked to note physical distancing requirements. You will not be able to sit where you wish or where you normally do. Please follow the instruction of our ushers (COVID-19 ministers of care) for proper entrance, seating, and exit. Families and households living at the same residence may sit together; the same two metres (six feet) distance should be maintained concerning others. Follow direction of ushers for seating.

The Church been emptied of prayer books, hymnals, etc. You may bring your own missal or prayer book, as long as you take it home with you. Parish bulletins will not be published at this time. Holy Water font has been emptied and not in use at this time. The Parish Hall, Chapel, board room (except for musicians) Fr Gus’ room will not be in use during this period unless otherwise permitted by Fr. Cosmas.

Celebration of the Eucharist and Parts of the Mass

Please listen carefully to announcements before the start of Mass. Follow directions as advised. Altar Servers, Lectors will be kept to an absolute minimum during this period of time. Please do not enter the sacristy unless you have been asked to assist during Mass.

Since it appears that a prolonged contact with others is the prime way the Covid-19 virus is spread, the time for the celebration of the Eucharist will be limited. For this reason, the following changes to the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist and Solemnities which are celebrated with the people in Phase Two have been authorized.

1) There will be only one reading and a responsorial Psalm to be read before the Gospel.

2) The Glory to God and the Creed may be omitted.

3) Only a few petitions should be included for the Prayer of the Faithful.

4) The Homily will be concise and to the point

5)Third Penitential Act rather than the “I confess”, may be used since it reduces the amount of words spoken by the people.

Liturgical Activities and Gestures

Other than a Cantor or choir appropriately physically distanced, there will be no singing at Mass until further notice. There will be no offertory procession or collection. Please leave donation in the designated basket upon entry/departure as directed. Please do not hold hands or shake hands during any portion of the celebration of the Eucharist. At the Sign of Peace, a nod or bow to others is appropriate. If a mask/face covering is worn during the Mass, it should be removed prior to reception of Holy Communion and may be put back on after consumption. During this time of pandemic and under the guidance of local medical health officials, the faithful are asked to receive Holy Communion in the hand by placing one on top of the other, allowing the Eucharistic Minister to safely place the Body of Christ in one’s hand without contact. Since each communicant has the right to receive Communion either on the tongue or in the hand, those wishing to receive on the tongue should receive Communion after all others. The Priest or Communion Minister should sanitize their fingers in case the tongue or face of the communicant is touched. Follow the directions of the ushers for the Communion flow, ensuring physical distancing at all times. In our church foyer, just before the entrance doors leading to the main church area, we have marked an AMEN stop sign. This is where you stop to say amen before proceeding to receive communion.

Departure After Mass

Following Mass, please depart the church so that cleaning may commence. While it is our nature to congregate/socialize in the foyer or parking lot, we ask you NOT to do so at this time. Please maintain physical distancing. General If you suddenly feel ill, start coughing or sneezing, please leave the church for the health and safety of others gathered.

Suspension of Various Ministries

Children’s ministry, prayers groups and other ministries that gather in the church/church grounds are either suspended or operating virtually only at this time.

Use of Washrooms

Please use washrooms only if absolutely necessary. One person or family at a time should be in the washroom. Ensure that all wash their hands with warm, soapy water after using washroom facilities. Please respect physical distancing outside the washroom.

In Case of Exposure to COVID-19

If, within 14 days of attending Mass, you learn that you or someone in your family who attended Mass with you has tested positive for COVID-19, you are asked to: a) contact the Ontario Public Health Authority; and, b) contact the parish office. Your identity will not be revealed to anyone other than the Public Health Authority, and only to ensure that any spread is contained.

For adequate recording keeping and contact tracing in case of exposure, we will after each mass take a picture of all attendees before the end of mass. This picture will not be used for any other purpose other than contact tracing if such situation arises.

I thank you all for your patience and generosity especially those men and women who stepped up to be of assistance at this time as ushers and helpers. May God continue to protect and bless us all.

Fr. Cosmas Ajawara

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