Starting Tuesday, March 1st, our church will be at full capacity, that is, no distancing between pews, and no more sanitizing during Adoration. Masks, however, will continue to be required. For those of you who may not feel comfortable attending Mass without distancing, be assured that we will continue to set up chairs with distancing in the school gym for the 11:00am Sunday Mass. As of March 1st, Ministers of the Word will no longer be required to be vaccinated or take a rapid test. Please note that we will be maintaining distancing in front of the ambo in both the church and the school gym. Since masks will continue to be required, we will continue to follow the same format for the distribution of Communion.
The lifting of pandemic restrictions is just in time for Lent. Given that we tend to think of Lent as a time to give things up, it’s a wonderful irony that this Lent things are opening up. After living through two years of restrictions, I would like to suggest that this Lent could be more of a time for doing than giving up. Not that we shouldn’t give anything up. Just that, as the churches open to full capacity, we have much to do. For example, Pope Francis has designated this Ash Wednesday as a day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine. This will be an opportunity to do prayer and give up food as we implore God to protect the people of Ukraine and change hearts of people in Russia. Ash Wednesday Mass will be celebrated in the church at 7:00pm as well as live streamed. I also encourage you to consider joining the Rosary for Peace on Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm, either in the church or online. Throughout Lent we will also be praying the Stations of the Cross every Friday at 7:00pm in the church.
I also invite you to join me either online or in the church hall for a Lenten series entitled The Mass on Tuesday evenings at 8:00pm starting March 8th. Students from the Newman Centre Guelph will be joining us over the live stream. We will be watching two or three short videos from the Formed series The Elements of the Catholic Mass and then breaking into small group discussions, one in the hall, one at the Newman Centre, and one online. After the small group discussions, we will return to the larger group for further questions and comments. As we prepare to celebrate Mass at Easter, my hope is that our time together reflecting on the meaning of the parts of the Liturgy will help each of us appreciate more deeply how our participating in the Sacred Mysteries is the living tradition of the Catholic Mass celebrated in the Latin rite for centuries.
Finally, Bishop Crosby has asked pastors to encourage parishioners to participate in the preparation for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on Synodality: Communion, Participation and Mission. If you haven’t already done so, you can answer the online questionnaire at: https://hamiltondiocese.com/synod/
God bless, Father Mark